MANUAL LABORS

 

 

Albino Carrillo

La Mano Roja de La Jauja – tres Sueños

1. UNA HISTORIA DE LA MANO
My great-grandmother used one of these
To grind her corn. She took this form of southwestern
Beauty to feed her family. Every morning she'd reach
Into a clay basket imprinted with the shapes of animals.
She'd scrape the blue corn then spread it
on the red metate and with one level pass, she
took la mano with both hands, and kneeled swiftly
to rake it across, making corn meal.
In the 1920's my grandmother stopped grinding
her own meal and as if the stars all fell at once
the secret history of this rock began. Hewn from the rough
red earth it is always ready to work, leading in its smoothed
surface the soft + delicate meal of tortillas.

2. CORN SEASON
Temple of the moon, temple of the sun
Now comes the time to bless el metate y la mano –
In their married life, dear piñon smoke, let them
Rise to the mountain together – it will be the gift
Of burning hickory and mesquite bringing them
Together under the stars.
Sister of corn, brother of the night sky
Now comes the urgent myth
The secret lots summer grown
Under sun-fed shaded distance thrown.

3. AUTUMN MOONLIGHT
Sister rain our late redeemer, take this prayer to the earth--
The old elders want to know the finished work of love
Is hewn into every blue corn kernel crushed by la mano.
For strength and plentitude pray for us in to the sparkling night sky.
For food and warm tortillas and the smoked roasted peppers
Pray for us. I know you in my dreams, quedida piedra,
One pier of the earth who helped feed the family, the nation,
Returned again as rain, rose again as corn.