In legends I know, the heavens are many-
layered. Cloud rats skitter there,
and flying squirrels. An orange tree
felled at the beginning of time
branched into veins leafed with copper
and gold ore where it hit the ground.
To this day, miners search for its
bright fruit by tunneling into the dark
on their bellies: no safety harnesses,
sometimes no headlamps. Only a second
sense that ticks through the loam
toward El Dorado, storied city
whose blueprint cannot be ascertained.
Among these stones, warriors once stalked
enemies, returning to their villages
with trophies of heads dangling from
their hands. They dunked and washed these
in the river, then lopped off and boiled
the jaws down to bone— A brass gong
adorned with this polished handle vibrated
with such unearthly power: even the grass
blades shivered as if lacerated by wind.
In response to Via Negativa: Medusa, Boddhisatva.