Cibola 44

This entry is part 43 of 119 in the series Cibola

Esteban (2) (conclusion)

An hour later he runs into his guides.
The locals say they know
the best road north. They only ask
you stay at least two nights:
it’s planting time, not everyone
can make it for tonight’s session.
You’ll need the intervening day
to sleep; the leading men clamor
for the privilege of putting you up.

Another town of brown mud houses
clustered above the floodplain–
from this distance nearly invisible
against the hills–where
his ambassador the medicine
gourd awaits. From each patient
it will take the flutter of a wrist,
the throb in a neck or flicker
of a guilty eyelid. Esteban has only
to hear & diagnose.
Less heart than liver, he muses.
A blotter pad for all bad blood.

The saint, the cross,
the paper in his pocket–these
are small voices, rarely
an audible chorus. Like his own
ears & eyes they sometimes fail.
But the gourd is as good as
the hand that holds it: & these
hands of his can talk, can read,
can draw forth the body’s secrets,
the hidden hurt.

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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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