by Michael Waite
So what if there are monoliths where I am from
That stretch as high as a man’s eyes can gaze?
If God could see us now he would laugh at our pride
In such obscenities, full of offices and unseen consequences.
I myself have perched atop a few of these towers,
Without feeling a single spark of mystery or magic.
All I saw was a void, chaotic, teeming with life,
Unable to make sense of history or plan for the foreboding future.
And as an atom in that languid body,
I hardly saw the cancer more than the businessmen a few floors below me.
There was something in the Inca stone, a jigsaw of genius and determination,
That questioned the validity of human progress,
The presence of a soul in my nation’s cities.
Yet there was a moment in the ruins of Pisac,
When I was sure that the sound of a mere wooden flute,
Floating across the jagged, ancient valley below, was not music
But a transmission from long ago, and yet somehow meant for me.
Those gentle, timeless notes told me that despite all the wars
Waged over pigment and politics, despite my inability to shake
The label of “tourist,” it was insane to define myself by the body of land
That birthed me, closed off from its brothers by an imaginary line.