Marsha Mathews

Humanities Division

213 N. College Drive

Dalton, GA  30720-3797

mmathews@em.daltonstate.edu

 

 

 

 

 

                                      Watch Tower

 

 

 

                                                Halfway up the Great Palace at Palenque,

                                                old rock surrounds me.

                                                Below, pepper-green land yawns

                                                relaxed yet aware.

                                                Shadows hang like hammocks,

                                                mossy green, inviting.

                                                Winding up and over stone walls

                                                bougainvilleas splash violet.

 

                                                Ruins rise in clusters across the Yucatan,

                                                skeletons of another era: elegant, tomb-gray.

                                                I wonder if like the one I climb, they are

                                                sculpted, etched, strangely lettered.

                                                If such a frieze as this one wraps wall to wall.

                                                If up and down limestone columns, carved Mayans

                                                beat drums, harvest maize and henequen.

                                                My hand flat against cold rock, I stretch to touch them.

 

                                                My flesh merging stone, I drop 2,000 years.

                                                Am there! A Mayan. Working

                                                hour into heat-heaving hour.

                                                We climb, hundreds of us, sweating.

                                                Single file, we move the earth.

                                                Block by block. Against our foreheads.

                                                Bricks enough to build whole pyramids

                                                with steps enough

                                                to out-step time.