Subtract the Panamerican heading North
and South, the cobble stone streets leading
from the highway to the Parque Principal
and the grotto of the Virgin,
and the Cross beyond. The Municipio
and Beto’s tienda who sells good wines and fine cheese;
subtract them too. Quiten la iglesia of sorrows
eternos, the Mormon center and store front
Evangelicos strumming guitar passage to Jesus,
the bust of Rumiñauhui, and the legends
of those last Incas.
Take away the loud speakers in the Plaza de Ponchos,
the almuerzos left so the dead loved ones
may eat in the Campo Santo —the Holy Ground.
Take the tourists back to their busses
and the busses back to Quito. Let old mestizos
halt the ancient handball game, played
each dusk at one end of the plaza
in homage to the setting sun. And
the Runakunata anchuchichik with their lives
of looms and corn and dreams of SUV’s.
The simple streams and stones lying in the streams
defining East and West. The rivers who
find rivers who find bays and oceans.
Let the mountains move,
Let the silence of mountains
that the voice of a woman
—as she gathers the words and the names
of a new song into her basket—