1940 - In the Heart of the Andes


It is amazing how long they last -
winter and Sabbath silence,
Opa=s blessing,
Manasse and Ephraim -
companeros de mi Vida
adios Muchachos.

Andean bells in silent office
cross clangors sweeping
into half remembered streets
cross Chimborazo switchbacks.

How black yet sleek the engines
silver the rails,
how smoke fills space,
the filling odor of burning coal,
the many oranges of Riobamba,
rich platanos,
the offering of silent ponchos, maroon and ochre,
and on the terrace of the great Machachi church
where baroque tiers
attempt to outface brilliant Aconcagua
where once, great Inca offered  bloody hearts,
her black robes ruffled,
chill the wind from Cotopacxi,
the ancient woman screams
"Judio! Judio!"

and Chino, my friend
in the valley of the Andes,
walks with me,
hands me half his Chiremoya
and only half in play,
we spit the pits of lucious fruit
in long and cheerful arcs
out onto the Royal road.