Don’t worry, I am not one of those neighbors
who eats at brick-oven pizza places. I have my own stove and enough firewood
for a bonfire. My neighbors’ mud-brick huts are painted white and there is no rule
saying I must do the same. I wear leather. The rest of my clothing is the color of rust.
Their white is whiter than these parades that will be daily
church-bells and fireworks, a snorting mule, makeshift chariots
blending my building with those of my neighbors: volunteers arrived when I wasn’t there,
painted my building white.
While looking for petroglyphs
I am turning into rock,
into your hands
colder and stiffer:
we could be swallowing sky
surrounded by rock, like burnt marshmallow,
blackness of two more burrows
where a granite quarry
into the hillside, the earth, into a womb—
follow the path and it will take you
carved into the cave-wall.
Above us in a courtyard, the children shout.
The photo on my mantle—
where a sun-flares engulfs Inkil Chumpi’s silhouette;
sprouts across a rupture of ravines
onto the hillside
where there is an alter,
a feather she examines
while the river remained in flood
washed away six cattle
and could not wait for sunset to swallow the town:
we needed a bridge to escape the flood.
Sunlight reaches through my porthole on the winter solstice, as well as on today.
I will blow specks of gold from my blowgun and make you a golden man.
While weeping, Inkil Chumpi filled the river that swallowed her lover
and our stranded town. She is now a hueca, introspective rock.
Slaves were used to get this gold.
No more discovery no more nourishing the stones.
Ink always dries.
Everything believable enough to be stable.
Scott Montgomery lives in the isolated heights of the Andes in a region known as The Potato Park. It is here that he spends his time in the community, learning the Quechua language, and holding workshops for children on themes related to self-expression and sustainability. He is currently working on a book of creative nonfiction, which has been funded through Kickstarter. To follow the project as it takes place, please visit the project blog at www.footstepsandvoices.com.
He received his MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University, where he served as poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.