We’ll wear the Quipo strings as a necklace,
Every knot and bead, incision in clay
An account of your life, emblems of your
Character tied in every knot.


Like Chilean miners drawn from the grave,
Survivors mark the date with candles on dark waters,
Like us, bobbing at random, nothing to do,
Casting a gaze ashore or out to sea.


We keep searching for bubbles and shimmers,
Collecting reflections and gurgles.
This knot marks the volcanic eruption,
This the ash, the salt and granite layers;


This set of yarns signifies the earthquake,
But recalls instead the tsunami’s path;
These log unknown beginnings, false starts,
Here accumulated debts, or abundant crops.


But there’s no neat bow for the cast of your net,
Nor tie for the tangled currents of people
Who dangle here and there without you,
Twisting to look back, to comprehend the sum.


Which loops signify the rest, the private
Strands of your life, undocumented moments?
Fingering each event, we’ll invent stories
Explaining away our doubts and memories.


We’ll wear the Quipo strings as a necklace,
Every color a symbol, every knot a reckoning.
-KH, March 2011

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