In the Foothills of El Cajas

El Duende es la fuerza que está parado al lado de la Muerte.

These mountains have the Duende in them.
How can one tell?
By the tufted shrubs whose spiny branches
curve toward the clouds.
By the caves whose entrances can be seen from below,
their hollows filled
with vines and bats.
By the lines and planes that traverse the range,
making a polygon so complex
only God can see it.
The Duende who fuels the old woman’s mad dance;
the Duende who hugged the glacier
until it melted and created this valley;
the Duende who invented chicha
It is that selfsame Duende who lives here,
and can be felt even as one sits
inside the Estancia San Juan
and merely
looks out the window.

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