Cibola 43

Esteban (2) (cont’d)

Sending his thoughts
ahead of him like this, Esteban
startles. Sunlight glances
off something way out in
the middle of the scrub, & rounding
a covert, he can make out
a crumpled shape.
A body.

He picks his way slowly over:
if a plant isn’t brandishing spears
it’s set to burst underfoot–
willing to wait beyond death itself
for ecstasy.

Curled up like a fawn on
the bare ground, a boy of ten
or twelve, eyes shut, mouth open.
Esteban lays two fingers against
the throat just below the jaw
& counts. At three the first
weak beat, the next at seven.
No sign of an injury. Laid out
at his head & feet & to either side
four crystals: black to the west,
blue to the south, translucent
to the east & to the north
a rose-colored quartz–the one
that glinted.
Esteban sees it then: a trap,
the boy both bait & hunter.
He backs away.

__________

black to the west… These are the colors associated with the sacred directions in O’odham/Hohokam cosmology, not Zuni cosmology

The individualistic power quest on the part of shamans and shamans-in-training was a feature of O’odham (and presumably Hohokam) religiosity; in Zuni (Shiwanna), such an extra-institutional quest would almost certainly be identified with sorcery

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