Cibola 63

This entry is part 62 of 119 in the series Cibola


Esteban (3) (conclusion)

He drifts, listening to himself go on
as if in an overheard conversation,
the voices slightly muffled
by a blanket draped
across the door.

I didn’t ask for this. How
can a slave volunteer?

How can he not?

Or am I still a slave, I wonder . . .

The paper in the locket
on my breast calls me
a ward of the crown: who isn’t?
The friar is at most
my trustee. By the terms of his vow,
he can’t hold alienable property . . .

I must’ve slept. The girl’s gone,
the room a vivid red. I thought
the fact of thinking meant I was
at least conscious . . .

So now I’m awake, I’ll spend
another night with drums & songs
& calabash, deep in trance.
Released from the tyranny of thought
to clamber up & down dream-creepers,
severing the artful
tendrils of disease: a pilgrimage
as looped & convoluted
as the entrails of a sheep.

Where no haruspection could find
anything but the pit,
this blank hole in
the center of the map,
one road
through all the poor & hungry
quarters of the earth.

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