For Fran Antman
The Andeans sledge for Morococha copper.
They hoped quick years:
to buy land—or a son from the pit.
In the Cemetery of Heaven,
Rosa Escobar’s black mantilla hoods stone.
Two days from Huancavelica.
Magnified, reborn Christ wounds.
Brother: pneumonia corpse at Morococha.
I confess that I confess.
I have bought and sold copper, nickel, silver and gold.
One of the sleepers, betting for time.
Dreaming farther and farther into the barriada,
past mud and flames.
Like any animal lacing shoes.
Trying to inform the saviors of the people—
we know, we know.
History’s inherent mercury; extracted silver.
Peru’s poorest zone.
Víctor Taype, union head, tortured by the Commando.
Antonio Cajachagua, mine leader,
assassinated by Sendero Luminoso.
Silicosis, arsenic dust.
Acidic Yauli toxic with metals.
Copper, zinc, iron, manganese, cadmium.
Stroller thrust on the blue-dusk Hudson,
to shield a child from the squalor.
Agog at the billionaire condos.
Clerestory water wall, infinity-edge pool.
Crucified by the sun spears.
Scorified sky of fire and dark.
Alloys binding wrists and neck.
Silhouetted kayak stroking to Rosa Escobar’s brother.
[First published: The Cafe Review (Winter 2011-2012).
Revised Version: December 2012.]