Over at dVerse, the challenge is to write a poem inspired by or incorporating the geography of a place. This poem, I think, fits that description. It also addresses the presence of previous occupants of the place and of course the geography and topography of the character’s head! Please visit dVerse and Check out Anmol’s interesting and erudite post on the subject.
The Sun God
Myron volunteered once
as a caretaker on an island
in the middle of a lake
in the High Andes
North of Puno,
The top of the island
was as flat as an anvil
and every day
he would climb up there
from his lake side cottage
to study the funerary towers
over on the mainland,
using his large binoculars.
It was never quite clear to Myron
what exactly he was taking care of.
He had a house,
a dread-locked alpaca
and three guinea pigs.
The guinea pigs were housed in a wired compound,
inside the compound was a miniature mud hut
with a thatched roof
and three open doorways
which the guinea pigs retreated through
every time he approached.
perhaps he was supposed to eat the guinea pigs
it was clear that they thought this also.
Located close to the funerary towers
were the remains of an Inca temple
worshipping the Sun God,
at that time in his life
Myron was losing faith in atheism
and the Inca worship of the sun god
had a certain logic to it.
Without the sun where are we?
Where are we, indeed!
He wasn’t overly keen on human sacrifice
but he had to admit that the Incas
dealt with the blood well,
channels and drainage being an Inca thing,
knowledge they acquired along the way.
and so it goes forever.
Myron thought he would use this time to write
but mostly he sat looking at a blank page
listening to the tinnitus in his left ear roar
and in the absence of his fellow human beings
he began to think that the alpaca was judging him,
the way it stared at him from under its matted fringe
and down its long nose.
One night he found himself shouting abuse at the alpaca.
The next day he left for Puno
and got drunk on gassy lager
in a pizzeria on the ragged, dusty town square
not far from the shores of Lake Titicaca.
This poem was previously published in The Galway Review.