MANUAL LABORS

 

 

Chris Ransick

Mano 94.002.18

sandstone protolith
grasped in the hands

abrasion, abrasion
and where are those hands

that crushed grain into
new nourishment

sun at apex burning
blue sage, skin, piñon under

ravens rising, always those
black familiars spiraling

up thermals while
hands laid a girl-child

in a shade long enough to
undo cloth, offer a breast

croon a melody, descant to
chorus of manos on metates

so where now is that song
that milk, one flesh opening

into another, into a mouth
that knows only hunger

is banished by this, by
summer sun settling over

kivas, canyons, fields of seed
gone into earth into seed again

into dust between stones into
meal into fire and fire into food

through bodies whose bones we sift
searching for clues to a woman

who kneeled all her afternoons
at this very task, with this stone