To Álvaro Leiva

We are crystals. What are we?

Encrusted pearls that clean the mind
Murky dregs of the stony terrain
Rocky pearls that pulse
A stormy river rushing through the mouth
and leaving the body

The silver serpent is a shadowy wake
Silhouettes of moving trunks and branches

In the depths aquatic roots
scrape with their fringes the flight of worms
launched from the dark

Little green and purple snakes

The copper coil of the brain
unravels like a music box in silence

Mute pearls whose sharp eardrums
hear the hissing of arrows

What are we?

An invading light
a fugitive flash

that dazzles in the corner of the eye
the womb where fingers fumble and flex?

Or eyelids that open only to close again?

To see Time like an infinite mirror reflecting into itself
The same image
cubically cut up on every side

Drink a river
with mud and insects

Jump from the tunnel

to the valley of clear things
Morning light

Apparition of bark like an alligator’s back
The endless flux that thought embraces

What are we?

Fine crystals that must be cleaned

(From Secoya, translated from the Spanish by Bill Rankin)


Yage is the name given to a visionary vine that grows in the Amazon basin.  It is also called ayahuasca.