L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo19 Mar 2015

On the puna
alpacas and cows graze
ears pierced with ribbons
& tassels
From one end of their pasture
sheep watch a group of
men play soccer

A white pick-up rocks by
loaded in back with
kneeling llamas
Amidst them sits a woman
wrapped in her black layers
black short-crowned Stetson
pulled low

The man next to me holds a beat-up radio
in his thick hands. It softly plays huaynos.
He nods to sleep. The fading day’s light
catches on his high cheekbones … strong nose,
on his ebony hair.

In the aisle sits an older woman. Her navy
skirts are pulled over her knees. A grey sweater
… brown shawl, & her Stetson hat.
Her thick face dances with crow-feeted eyes.
It shines with that slight tranquil smile. In Quechua
she speaks to a girl & a younger boy.

This bright sage-green
tundraland drapes
& mounds & flows
The golden sun
is dipping beyond
the mountains
Some bare rock faces
capture those last rays
& are bathed in alpenglow

That women & her children
get off at a small village
of mostly abandoned naked-
adobe houses
In the distance
at the foot of a rise
llamas & alpacas run
to join a larger herd

To the west
the blue heavens sink
with rose-etched clouds
The so-pallid indigo sky
against the agéd green puna
& behind crags
Already some eastern star
arises bright above two
pale flamingos in a pond

Awe swells within me. I am
filled with the wonder of Spirit –
filled with Spirit.
That star seems so near – as
if I can just reach up &grab it, hold
it within my hand….

& with the night’s arrival
bedding alpacas & llamas
are ghostly white
against the ShadowLand
Unfamiliar constellations slowly
sketch the sky
dusted by the ribbon
of the Milky Way

But still that one star holds
my gaze, this landscape, my awe.
& I feel tired, just wanting
to rest in their presence, just rest,
perchance to sleep, perchance …
to Dream.

published in :
Andina Aquarelles (O’Fallon, Ill.: Snark Publishing, 2003)