The jagged wall of Salkantay has
many faces: golden, sunset purple,
dappled white with cumulus clouds.
Children run to greet travelers
along the winding, steep road,
wearing colorful woven wool–
chompas, chullos, cheeks
pinched raw by altitude.
Foreigners give away chocolate–
tinsel wrapping scatters while
kids chase after the cars, together
navigating ditches, cracks, troughs,
and creeks in want of water.
Crumbling walls, adobe bricks–
sunbaked and stacked, white-washed
and painted with political slogans.
San Pedro Church weathers,
flowers wilt at the altar.
Lamenting Quechua, bowler hats,
a woman grills hotdogs at the corner.
A dog with protruding ribs,
limps and waits outside my door.
I search through kitchen garbage–
giving him scraps, grizzle and bones.
An image of the Virgin appears
in the crevice of the mountain,
and then the gray rolls in–leaving
the mountain with no face at all.
The photograph “Cachora Street” was previously published in Roadside Fiction.
Claire Ibarra is a writer, poet, and photographer residing in Miami, Florida. Her poetry has appeared in many fine journals, including Thrush Poetry Journal, Blue Fifth Review and Words Dance, and is forthcoming in Pirene’s Fountain and Midwest Quarterly. Claire teaches poetry to incarcerated women in Florida. She and her husband own a hostel in the Andes of Peru, en route to the Choquequirau ruins.