prayer

Inflexible road to the west, black Ford F-150, red mounds crawling behind rear mirrors.

He leaned back on the seat and opened his shirt, once a bullet hole now a scar, he showed his evidence proudly, like a medal he owned for bravery. We hit Coyote highway, running across a desert where no one has stopped long enough to name it properly. Cicadas were splashing on the windshield, forming constellations of yellow slime and translucent wings. Joseph kept saying: “ This used to be our land…listen, stars aren’t white, they shine colorlessly…” He wished he was a black man playing the trumpet on a salsa band, he wish he was that peasant coming to the city and stretching his hand for a coin. But he was only an Indian, who shot himself on the stomach.

 

When he was younger, he was told about his people and how they came down from Pleiades, he remembered that story years after when scattering his wife’s ashes over a hill on Grey Canyon. It is funny, he says, never rains at home, but it felt like she was coming down like rain…maybe he says that because he never knew how to cry. Mourning belongs to the living…ceiling above, walls within, narrow window to parking lot…we used to call this life! The clocks are neatly moving, the winter count has no end, and so is death.

 

 We crossed the state line without knowing it. 4 lanes across the reservation…Arizona or New Mexico, it makes no difference: It is, it Was and it Will be just there…same old, same old…

 

8 hours ago we were in a bar drinking beers and mescal, embracing the evening with claws and square eye sockets…then suddenly he said:

-is there a face etched on the sky? what about your ceiling? Let’s talk about it…Is it also the eagle’s territory?

-Our craniums are shape like domes, have you noticed? I said.

-There are no words to say goodbye in my language, the water, the wind knew my name and I answered…he brought the bottle to his mouth like whispering a secret to it.

All he needed was a ride home…so we kept silent until we jumped back into the truck.

Stars, fireworks, campfires of the ancient keeping the watch: One day we will leave and the sky will no longer hold what is left of us, Is the sky below, is the earth above? We failed to reveal it.

 

Weightless spiral, shifting void, a ceiling rest on four pillars, four giants hold the milky way on their heads, the galaxy spins like a serpent, each scale is called century. White splattered, never rimmed night, receive our spirits glowing…we are wounded, homeless. Let us make our nest on a star with four petals opening gentle to the morning of beginnings. Grandfather sky, can we still call upon you without blushing? We carved the stone, planted the seeds, we talk our prayers in our language so you could hear us. We gave it all and yet…the sky is bursting with scars. Heart of water and sapphire do you still hear us? Our ancient cities are crowded with ghosts and tourists; they take pictures and bow down to broken pieces of pottery, which they hide in secret pockets to pass the custom search at the airport. They will tell their friends how we used to carve and pray, but do they? Grandfather sky, is it true that you died? The night filled with shining skulls, yes it is true! They disappeared without a trace leaving their ruined cities at the mercy of archeologists and other bandits! Yes they vanished! Now it’s our time. We need no moon we have satellites!!! We have earned it; we learned to say “cuanto”.

 

The night is a battlefield, I said, isn’t it time for a prayer?

Then he replied, head down:

-Set your own skin to dry hanging on a strand, mind the time to bleach your back, moonshine would give you stretch marks…Plane Hijackers, moonwalk, wear UV protection.

 

AMEN

 

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