Crossing, Mexico, And New York* - Poem by elysabeth faslund
The pregnant and the old straggled along jagged cliffs,
Following their young hunters' path...no frost-snorting horses
To carry the sick. Only thick-furred, black dogs...pets when
Stomachs were full.
Sons, born in the mountain snows, did not cry in the plains below.
Wails filled the high passes, etching stunted trees, then
Voices echoed to each other. Bones marked the trail. When pelts
Hung loose on hips...shadows sat around the fire, grim-jawed,
Children laughed with the puppies at sunset. And old men smiled
Through their eyes.
By dawn, fire ashes cold, footsteps wound to the south, disturbing
Only shriveled blades.
A week-old wolf kill...arms became strong. An ancient deer dying
By a stream...stomachs quieted.
A shadow...holding a skull to the waning sun.
To the moon, an upraised, warrior skull...chants scattered the
Density of sweet incense.
Limestone blocks riveled red, priests' hair matted, robes stained
A young girl waited in a damp chamber. She smiled for her young
Man in the war. Tlaloc-God came. As she ascended temple steps,
Her love, shorn of Eagle armor, proudly entered the enemies camp,
At dawn, corn cakes sizzled...old women stirred peppers into the
Beans. Two boys played with Jaguar claws. The father hoed corn.
At dawn, twelve thousand chained, climbed temple steps.
The Hummingbird God came...blood ran to the plains. Drums died
At twilight. Cakes, beans devoured. The father went to his field.
3. Thirty-Fifth Street
Offices hang in parallels. Coolers bubble. Khaki-clad janitors shuffle
Down vacant halls.
Huge glass doors are locked against streets.
In kerosene-scented basements, the sick dream feverishly
Of cool, mountain streams...snow, sorrow.
Pictures of animals, trees, crowd split, plastered walls.
Electric poles lift arms to the sun...sparrows twitter
Ambulances shriek past red-lighted intersections to waiting pain,
Deposit their sheeted burden...
Search for another.
Somewhere on the Old Continent, fur-cuffed, weather-wrinkled hands,
Skin their kills
With finely manufactured
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