Gran Quivira Indian Ruins
by Alan Greenwood


Among the silent ruins, the August sun attacked
the members of our class fieldtrip. Just as it once drew
sweat from the brow of pueblo laborers who positioned
this limestone, and stacked rocks as nature does.
One-on-one, workers applied mortar, crafted homes,
kivas, and their well-built Catholic church.

We tourists trailed our guide in his dimpled, ranger hat.
"Watch where you step," the man warned.
We strolled the grounds like uncertain shoppers,
clad in straw hats, sun lotion, shades,
_________and dangling Kodak cameras.

"Note the Catholic Church over there. And that single
roof timber carbon-dated at more than 300 years old!
An ancient Christian graveyard for Indian souls lies
beneath your shoes."
_________--Oooos-----ahhhhs--
As if dodging a blow,we tourists sidestepped from our shuffled,
herding path, uncomfortable we had trodden Christian graves.

In the museum,the skeleton of a Piro mother and her infant,
coffined in a glass case, yellowed bones floating on green felt.
Even in death, the mother curling to embrace her child's bones
______as intimately as a seashell's coiled twist.

Near the sterile cabinet, two restroom doors stenciled:
_________WOMEN____MEN
nearby, the cool humming Coke machine drones a funeral dirge,
and as I leaned above the polished glass to gawk at the skeletons,
behind me, several miniskirt-ed girls whispered and giggled, discussing
nearby pubescent boys, who sported Beatle haircuts and vacant smiles.







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