In her own words...



It might be time to research the thing
instead of always saying "Peruvian,"
while it may not be Peruvian at all—
I, as no authority, depending on
having been told its origin—and that
so long ago when they took over
the place, their fetishes, totems, weapons—
oh, they had nothing to do with us.

Yet, at times, a chunky shaman eyed
me as I sat, shook his red-tipped
wand at me, his mask for out of body
states defying me or anyone to
probe his tribal truths disguised
in black and terra cotta paint, the
penis a badge, perhaps of courage—
sorely needed in their grudging
fastnesses. Ever at risk, soliciting
heaven in howling drum-beat;
not unlike our own hot screams,
sounding the same sky, the same
wind tearing at our flimsy masks.



About this work

“Peruvian” was first published in Salmagundi, Nos. 148-149 (Fall 2005-Winter 2006), p. 151.  It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, Coming to That: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2011, p. 10, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.