Quoricancha – Scott Montgomery

Illustration by Garima Pura

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

while sleeping

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.


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