Cibola 46

This entry is part 45 of 119 in the series Cibola


Marcos 2

Rising from his midday rest, the friar
rinses his face, tilts back the onetime
wineskin for a drink
of tepid water. A hint of sulphur.

Ye shall drink
from the cup I drink from
he murmurs in Latin, & passes
it back.

Again that dream from the wilderness
of the Old Testament:
the brass serpent God ordered Moses
to affix to a desert snag
as prophylactic for a plague of snakes–
Gaze upon it & live. This time

the tree’s a green giant, stout
buttresses armored with spines like
a church turned into an engine of war,
branches like arms bent at the elbows,
upraised–the by-now familiar gesture
signing Welcome:
we are unarmed (true),
we have nothing worth taking
(a diplomat’s strategic lie).

Just below the top there’s a hole,
a gaping hollow, where
a pair of gold coins shimmers
& blinks. The little owl
shall also nest there
he thinks,
recalling the prophet’s sketch of desolation
with a smile. Further evidence
Scripture anticipated these lands
unknown to Aristotle or Seneca.

(To be continued.)

the brass serpent: see Numbers 21:9

The little owl shall also nest there: Isaiah 34:14

Series Navigation← Cibola 45Cibola 47 →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.