A PASSAGE THROUGH THE PUNA
A PASSAGE THROUGH THE PUNA peru stories
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lorrainecaputoc
lorrainecaputoc Community member
Autoplay OFF   •   4 months ago
Let us take a poetic journey through the high mountain plains of Peru …

A PASSAGE THROUGH THE PUNA

Don Domingo reading his Bible one Domingo day. Tierradentro, Colombia. photo (c) Lorraine Caputo

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF OLDER PERSONS! ¡FELIZ DÍA INTERNACIONAL DE LAS PERSONAS DE EDAD! https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-older-persons-day

Let us take a poetic journey through the high mountain plains of Peru …

Safe Journeys!

A PASSAGE THROUGH THE PUNA

Four women in heavy black sit on a front porch They chat as they pull & spin wool

Between theirs & the other widely spaced adobe houses serpentine irrigation canals

Before one home A chapped-cheek brother & sister watch us go by Their ponchos flutter in the breeze In a second-floor window hollow sits the boy’s white & green dump truck

Mountains ring a broad valley below Thin rain falls upon the past-harvest patchwork The thick clouds swirl about the summits

We climb in the chain Fog steams the windows The earth & sky dance to the huayños playing within this groaning bus

Two men, each with a team of black oxen, plow a steep field along the roadside They hold switches in one hand

Within a few winds of this dirt packed camino they are far below The black soil emerges beneath their slices through the golden pasto

Volcanic boulders & bare cliffs crag the treeless land Bushy grasses lichens mosses Pale ochre silver & deep green burnt red-orange

On one hillside a woman baby bundled to her back tends a flock of sheep Her young son toddles behind

Up ahead on this clayey road an old woman hobbles along on a staff Her thick-socked sandaled feet barely leave the ground She clutches a bunch of wool & spindle in one hand Weighty dark skirts & sweater & shawl A fine-grass hat atop greying braids

This bus stops beside her opening its doors Come, anciana, we take you there

& up a long rise to where her solitary home sinks into the earth The assistant gives her a hug As we pull away she wipes a tear

From those heights we dip into a valley of slate-blue lakelets & we ascend again to the barren puna

In the midst of this desolation near a homestead graze a herd of llamas

Far below the houses stack tightly upon one another We descend to Quiruvilca of coal-black & zinc-grey faded-blood soil & as we leave we pass the rail cars entering the depths of its mines

published in Andina Aquarelles by Lorraine Caputo (O’Fallon, Illinois: Snark Publishing, 2003)

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