Further! Adventures on the Mojave Trail – Faces and a Twisted Horn

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Faces and a Twisted Horn


floating in a galaxy of bright stars
Ortíz spins slowly
his eyes open

huge faces loom before him
he reaches through the celestial fabric to touch them
they fade away

like faces molded in wax
in mirrored hallways
I stand

I reach out
to touch them
I reach out
to hold them
only to see
new ones
in their place

up or down
sideways or backwards
I feel like
I’m floating
in space

and another
I grab hold
and feel
the tears
on each face

floods through me
I kiss it sweetly
only to see it

Ortíz wakes in a sweat
the warmth of the desert floor on his back

y ¿Que de esas caras? What were those faces?
what meaning could they hold? what riddle was he trying to solve?
he questions the dream
as if solving it could answer questions
that have troubled him all his life

in the distance
hoof-beats pound
¿A caballo? Ortíz awakes once more
this time with a crisp snap of clarity

aaarrrmmmh aarrrmmmh aarrrmmmh
the sound fills him, drumming from the valley below
he runs across the ridge to where he can get a better view

gone are the irrigated fields
replaced by a verdant slough
carpeted in lush salt cedar and wild grasses
that stretches to the river

a cavalry of soldiers on horseback, swords and rifles raised
descend on a band of desperately fearful Mohave
it is a massacre!
the savagery of the horsemen
is like nothing he has ever imagined; real to the point of delusion

women clutch at their children
warriors, their arrows like soda straws flung into the wind
are downed by gunfire

sickened by the sight
Ortíz collapses to the ground unconscious

a twisted horn floats
through the emptiness of space

a lonely sentinel, it wanders aimlessly

a body hangs by its neck from the mouthpiece
blood oozing from the base of its skull in large red tear drops
the face contorted; the hair mottled
it dangles lifeless in the weightlessness
of improbability

his breath a prolonged rattle
Ortíz sleeps a restless sleep

night creeps quietly
the nocturnal creatures of the desert scurry about
life continues on just as it always has; just as it always will
the moon rises and falls; the sun comes up

daylight—and all the little critters of the dusk dive into their digs for the day




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