Cibola 107

Marcos (6) (conclusion)

Well, no sense
in testing the patience of my guides
any further. I don’t know
at what distance the Act
would lose its efficacy: from this
promontory I ought to be able
to establish the crown’s claim to all
the souls in three directions.

This looks like a good spot for a cross, plenty
of oblong rocks to pile up. Odd,
though, how some look almost
like animals, six-knobbed–
like this gray-green stone
in my hand: a carver’s
discarded blank, I guess.
I turn it over

& over. These tensed limbs,
if that’s what they are, the low-
slung head & suggestion of a tail
put me in mind
of something swift & strong.
It slips easily
into my lambskin wallet:
a memento to cheer me on the long
road back.

I want to keep this clarity as long as I live.
__________

the Act: I.e., the Act of Possession. See here.

some look almost like animals: the Zuni regard their famed fetish stones more as found objects than works of art; their unfinished appearance is partly what identifies them as raw beings. They are believed to have once been living animals, turned to stone by bolts of lightning from the twin war gods in order to prevent them from ravaging human beings, and to give hunters access to their superior predatory power.

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