Cibola 24

This entry is part 24 of 119 in the series Cibola


Marcos (1)

At midday, looking down from the hills,
you’d barely be able to spot a solitary
figure walking the desert road,
especially one with a robe the color
of mud. But at sunrise, his shadow
marks him like a gnomon. It stretches
far to the west, ripples through clumps
of ironwood & tree cacti, spans
canyons. Someone with keen vision
might even be able to read, in its slight
hesitations and headlong plunges,
something of the cast
of this stranger’s mind.
                                       Or so
Marcos thinks, suddenly self-conscious.

But this new routine works better
than he would’ve thought. His request
to be left alone after breaking camp
for a kind of walking prayer–
balancing matins with the need
to make progress before the heat
forces a halt–has increased
his stature among the Indians
still further. Not a bad shield
against whatever perils might lie
ahead, he muses.
Though in the long run
I’m in far greater danger
from the loss of humility: how
to imitate St. Francis when
the simple villagers crowd in
to finger my habit, eyes shining
with something akin to faith–except
for their perfect ignorance of Christ?

(to be continued)

Series Navigation← Cibola 23Cibola 25 →

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