Cibola 69

Shiwanna (3) (cont’d)

Slowly the town
returns to motion
on a lower key. The boys
have forgotten their vigils
& the girls have lowered
their jars to the ground to talk,
forming clusters big & small
throughout the town,
chewing over the news.

–A witch can be anyone,
anyone with a double heart,
muses one young woman
to her circle of companions.

–Someone prospers
in crops, in clothing,
in the knowledge of secrets,
gets bigger & bigger
until a neighbor notices
& without thinking starts to feed
an extra heart with envy . . .

–The same way the priests feed
their icons, another cuts in.

–It makes that second heart
with more and more malicious intent.
Wrapped in corn husks, daubed
with black mud from the Beginning,
tended lovingly in some bowl
in the back room . . .

–You can spot a witch
when it plants prayer sticks at
the wrong times, with
the wrong kinds of feathers–
or none at all.
The medicine societies must always
keep their guard up: how strange it seems,
that a witch should practice medicine!
But that’s just part of
their double-dealing.

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