Cibola 63

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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