With the press of a button, she appears out
of darkness, sitting with one ankle
over the other,
in a woven dress and sandals,
traces of coca leaf still on her lips,
her hair braided finely,
with a wrinkle in one cheek where her shawl
touched it. Sometime after her sacrifice,
burned her body, leaving the marks.
Fifteen maybe, well nourished, with blood
still in her heart,
she sits in an acrylic cylinder
at a temperature of zero, as she did for five
in an underground niche, after drinking
maize beer and falling asleep,
A plaque states: According to beliefs,
children do not die but join ancestors
on the mountaintop.
“She doth not sleep,” I thought, years later,
kneeling with my eyes closed beside
“Look, Henri, isn’t she beautiful!” my aunt exclaimed,
but I couldn’t. I don’t need to know
what I already know.