I am a bride
Carrying a bouquet of dried Quinoa.
My train of dust dances
Down the sloped aisle
I walk towards the awaiting women
Circled around a mound of bouquets
The same as mine.
I let my Quinoa fall on the pile
Landing with the rattle of seeds.
The last harvest of the year.
Here, we clean the Quinoa with sticks
Rather than machines.
Beating the stalks until, one by one
The seeds spring into the air
And fall with the sound
Of shells retreating to the sea.
Pound, clatter, pound, clatter.
Music swirls in the air
And the women are dancing
With their words.
Weaving the long eees and harsh ks
Of Kichwa into the symphony.
Our hands are blistered from gripping sticks
That have become smooth in our palms.
And suddenly everything is still,
The music has stopped
The sticks have dropped.
Seeds lay in a mountain
Mixed with the pulp of the beaten stalks
And la cascara,
encasement of the Quinoa.
We scoop up the mixture
In white pots painted with blue flowers.
Holding the jumble of seeds and cascara
High above our heads.
As the mountain breeze rolls through
We tilt the pots pouring the contents
To be separated by the wind.
On the backs of the gusts,
Fly those that do not serve us,
Leaving the seeds,
Stripped of all layers
To form a pile of white gold.
October, you came and went.
As time breezes along
I will take the risk
To cast my empty shells to the wind
To be beaten, and changed.