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Monte Alban

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1997-1999

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Monte Alban dawning still at midday

my noon blazing through the cactus

spines pricking too sudden for

more than my eyes to take.

 

Sink vision into the mountain

where the Zapotec built mountains.

The best we do is exultant straining.

 

I tear a leaf and it bleeds saffron

upon my palm:  Its blood is sweet

its perfume talks with an eagle

slash across my face.

 

I kneel to look at hidden flowers

diffusing red against the walls;

pebbles in the dust grind my knees

reviving drops of blood after

so long dry.

 

Immense day of seeing, of caressing

as the five is all I thought I had.

And I learned against the uncovered wall

the archaeologist’s trick with time.

 

Time is for the asking:

these dressed and naked stones

are time, the clouds for the summer

storm, the mescal plants are seconds.

And endless the moment!

 

There is a man below,

threading the ruins

with his clay flute.

He’ll sell that and every

stone and leaf, if asked,

but can never lose them.

 

The moment is endless!