Cibola 43

This entry is part 42 of 119 in the series Cibola


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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