Cibola 42

This entry is part 41 of 119 in the series Cibola

Esteban (2) (cont’d)

For with the right roots & powders
all things are possible, as even
Galen admits. Any would-be
sorcerer could slip
something in his food,
activate it with a few muttered words.
His best protection lies in
the gourd, his feathered
medicine rattle, instrument
& emblem of a doctor–curandero
by the grace of the Great
Whoever–& thereby
safe from attack, the gourd
both guide & passport,
an envoy even through the thick of battle.

And it speaks, this calabash,
a voice he knows from earliest childhood
in the slave quarters of Azemmour:
a call no drum, no exiled Jinn
can ignore. When the stones
in its belly murmur
the copper bells on its feet
start to shrill,
& when the stones holler
like a woman in labor
the shakers cry like a newborn,
& Esteban attending keeps
the thin stick body firmly
in his grip, while its skirt
of red & white feathers
flies like the crown of a palm tree
through the heart of the sky.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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