Cibola 75

This entry is part 74 of 119 in the series Cibola


Esteban (4) (cont’d)

In the fading light
he finds footprints across the dry
streambed, traces their contours
with an index finger: young, female,
unburdened. One way out.
From somewhere on the rim
a jackal’s laughter, ricocheting up
& down the canyon.
Coyotl, he corrects himself.

A few minutes later he rounds a bend
& stops short: a small campsite
in the cave formed by an over-hanging
lip of rock
where a woman stands smiling
behind a fatwood fire.

He hadn’t realized until now, with
an almost painful jolt
in his chest, how lonely
the lack of this very smile had made him.
It’s never been a question
of hunger alone–
thirst perhaps? he wonders briefly
as she lets her cloth dress fall.
No, not that simple, he decides
as they stand fully naked,
the shadows from the fire
playing across their lean forms,
making their skins shimmer & ripple
like obsidian mirrors, he thinks,
remembering a hidden idol
wreathed in incense.
Like the surfaces of two
flood-swollen rivers about to join.
This has so little to do
with the merely animal.

Moving like dancers, both of them
trying to minimize awkwardness,
they glide on contrapuntal feet,
touch toes as
his arms pivot at his sides,
bending slightly so the palms
face up, & in the long moment
before she moves in against him

it’s as if–yes–as if his whole
body is united in
this gesture,
a response to hers–the gift
her own body presents.
And the voice of disembodied Reason
once more proclaims in its tinny voice
This is it, the one thing

worth seeking, this
Word: original sign
freed from all symbolism, the body
now & always as it was
in the beginning–pure Will . . .

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