Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2018

Figures

Figures
Photo by Sarah Lachise via Unsplash.

Ancient cave, cup of shade
a scoop in the canyon wall

the entrance littered with flattened
cans of Red Bull, tattery t-shirts,

a limp knapsack
silvering in the sun.

You can feel the fatigue
of those who rested here,

one more toehold on the long
clawing journey toward El Norte.

If they raised their eyes to the ceiling
they might have seen

two ochre stick figures, hand-in-hand,
looking down on them—

how many centuries,
how many passers-by,

O’odham people bearing
squash and castor beans

from Sonoran highlands
south to the Gulf of Mexico

returning with dried fish
in labyrinthine baskets,

succession of steady feet carving paths
up and down the Mesoamerican spine.

In the cool of the evening, this generation
will reshoulder their burdens

head past the sacred mountain on the left,
northward towards the bulge of Kitts Peak

bristling with crazy gringo devices
for watching and listening to the stars,

and somewhere up there
a ship named Voyager

inscribed with a man and a woman
and its path through the planets

slides further on
from home.