On Lake Titicaca

by Armand Garnet Ruffo
Between Bolivia and Peru I forget who I am
and the guides continue to keep course. Here
the waves against the boat and the old man
braced against the tiller are important.
I turn and look directly
at him. Not a word parts his lips
and I think of the depth of the lake
the elixir of rhythm tradition.

We are out past the reed islands
                      past the fishermen
                      the birds
out among one another inside
a path deep and blue as a prayer.

The old man's companion decked out in bright wool
cap and sweater fiddles with an old oily motor
he somehow keeps going. Like the old man
his Indian life is carved into his face
and defines his presence and like the old man he knows
he is taking me somewhere I have never been
past everything except ourselves
on this water       under this sky.

From Opening in the Sky, Theytus Books.

© 1994 Armand Garnet Ruffo

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