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Teec Nos Pos (Circle of Cottonwoods)
by Beth Thomas

The shop bell chimes but Rosie does not look up. She knows the tourist will pick up a mano y matate or a horsehair vase, roll it around and feel its weight, then return it to the shelf. Or select an antique turquoise bracelet then shine it on a shirtsleeve.

No matter, Rosie has work to do. The Teec Nos Pos-style rug she is creating will bring in at least ten thousand dollars when finished. Hawaii, she thinks. When it sells, I should go somewhere with ocean on all sides, just for a while.

Mama Mabel calls from the back room, "Be right out!" then rushes through the door, all smiles. She greets the man and starts pointing out both bargains and investments.

Texan, Rosie thinks, looking up. Texan with money to spend here. "Mama,” she calls, “show him the tapestry from last autumn." She knows this man will buy it: red and black geometry, very Navajo, very Diné. He will hang it on an office wall next to a shelf holding a stuffed armadillo and a dark Anazazi pot. She can not fault him; he doesn't understand. She bends back to her work.

Mabel laughs and shoves the check between Rosie and the loom: $8000. She snaps the check back and tucks it in her pocket. "Enough to cover us for three months!" she says, and smoothes Rosie's hair with her hand. "Keep it up and we'll be able to move to Canyon Road within the year."

Rosie smiles but continues weaving. She watches her hands move, so much like her mother's hands all bones and dry skin. She wonders what they will look like in five years, ten: a hundred years old?

Mama Mabel hums in the back room, cleaning, taking inventory. Rosie knows her mother is not dreaming of vacation, of rest. She is planning increased sales, re-investment, a shop on Canyon Road. Rosie worries about her mother, who suffers from a lack of daydreaming, a lack of staring off into nothing for a while.

Thunderbird feathers, black arrows with red outlines, she weaves the design to get it out of her head. Through the tapestry’s thick black border, Rosie weaves a single straight line in cream, a pathway from the inner geometries to the rug's edge.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Beth Thomas is originally from New Mexico but currently lives in California due to military relocation. She works as a technical writer in the aerospace/defense industry—don't ask what she writes about 'cause she can't really tell you. She has a BA and an MA in writerly things from New Mexico universities. Her work has recently appeared in Pindeldyboz Online, SmokeLong Quarterly, Juked, Word Riot, and other places.

Read the interview.
Issue Nineteen (December 15, 2007): The Off-Season by Jami Attenberg «» A Company Function by Grant Bailie «» Food Spectrum of the Rainbow Family by Melissa Bell «» Holiday Inn by Kim Chinquee «» Killer Pair by Trinie Dalton «» What Happened to My Purple Flip-Flops by Arwen Dewey «» Truth (ii) by Ben Ehrenreich «» How 9) Strange by Laird Hunt «» The Mess You Made in Us by C. Robin Madigan «» Red Brick by Darlin' Neal «» A Boy Not Born Yet by Tori Malcangio «» Taco Foot by Jack Pendarvis «» Boyandaquarter by Ben Stein «» Teec Nos Pos (Circle of Cottonwoods) by Beth Thomas «» Music from 1975 by Benjamin Weissman «» Interviews: Jami Attenberg «» Grant Bailie «» Melissa Bell «» Kim Chinquee «» Trinie Dalton «» Arwen Dewey «» Ben Ehrenreich «» Laird Hunt «» C. Robin Madigan «» Tori Malacangio «» Darlin' Neal «» Jack Pendarvis «» Jim Ruland «» Ben Stein «» Beth Thomas «» Benjamin Weissman «» Cover Art "Desire" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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