Mount Pacho

by Ann K. Schwader

     Slow bright water-snake on the floor of the ancestral well. Maya blue sky arching over the people, their children wreathed in flowers and amnesia. Holy Week arrives with its tamale sacraments, a last picnic in the hills before the rains.

				glyphs bled
				on a scrap of codex
				stone cenoté
     Twenty feet down. Three thousand years deep. Reluctant to offer themselves to echoes, the children bleat and fidget by the hollowed steps. Their wreaths are wilting. A visiting scholar finally takes the lead, nostrils clenched against a scent only his hindbrain knows.

				in the bone
				clear sky lightning

     The scholar's own wreath slips from his head. As he bends to retrieve it, the dank air hisses, constricting around him until he retreats to the steps. To a present clean of memory. In the past below him, children's voices gurgle and fade.

				dry dark
				a spattering
				of echoes
     People are wailing as he emerges, faces streaked with tears and rain as they stare into the well. Their lips twist with an unfamiliar language. A name too ancient for this village sacrament, in which children return singing from the shadows.

     Then the visiting scholar's glance falls to his boots.
				washed down
				to the sprouting fields	
				fresh red prints

Ann K. Schwader's most recent spec poetry collection, Wild Hunt of the Stars, is forthcoming from Sam's Dot Publishing. Her poetry and dark fiction received several Honorable Mentions from the sadly departed Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, and her poetry continues to appear in many of the usual spec poetry venues accompanied by most of the other usual suspects. She lives a deceptively quiet life in suburban Colorado with her husband and an exceedingly indulged dowager Corgi. When not writing, she can often be found volunteering at her local branch library, where the patrons still believe her to be normal. Her LiveJournal is Yaddith Times, and she also has a website.

When asked to name the poem of which the word "cherry" most immediately makes her think, she replied, "A. E. Housman's exquisitely melancholy 'Loveliest of Trees' -- although the trees in my part of the world are often hung with the other kind of snow for Eastertide."

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