I stayed in Lucre for two nights: a town as big as one square block. Lucre is 50 minutes from Cuzco by bus. The roads are full of sheep and cattle and donkeys and stray dogs. Lucre is nestled between mountain ridges and walking distance from Huacarpi, a town even smaller than Lucre.
Her hands were dark and wrinkled from years
Of working in the highland sun. Years of threading
Reed, dishwashing, cooking over open flame, red
Brick building and I can only imagine what else
That might come from her hands.
Red clay flows from this mountain.
She wears a fully pleated skirt that fans
Out mid shin and a pale apron.
Her socks are navy, tall and thick.
A purple alpaca sweater covered in red florets
Rests on hunched shoulders. Her shoulders
That softly slope, broad and strong.
Her graying hair is braided in two
And interwoven with black wool, tied in the center
Of her spine, like a kiss.
She wears a an offwhite top hat tied with turquoise ribbon and held
in place with a dangerously large hat pin.
She speaks Quechua with both ease and ferocious
gumption and I don't understand a word besides
"Come, come, mamita."
She gestures with those old hands to a wooden bench
and I sit and I eat my pancito and coca tea.