Cibola 51

Shiwanna (2) (cont’d)

The Cactus Society, the Ant Fraternity,
the Hunters, the Bow Priesthood–
in each of the six towns
they tie feathered willow wands
as bait for the spirit beings.
For four times four days & nights
they mix their medicines. Some
for nightmares, some for seeds
of panic. Some to bring rain
to loosen the enemy’s bowstrings, & some
to turn the water in their springs
to liquid fire.

The Salt belongs to herself alone–
how can she be hoarded?
The game animals go only to those
who know the protocols, whose hearts
are clean. How can they be penned?
Sorcery on such a scale
cannot go unanswered.

The medicine priest of the Big Shell Order
of the Helix Society
paces the kiva, growling, snuffling,
blinking his Black Bear eyes,
clacking his teeth.
He drags a claw counter-sunwise
around the prayermeal painting
in front of the altar: gouges
a four-fold road that spirals in.
Where the predator spirits lead
the warriors can never falter.

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