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Cabezon
by Ken Hartke

It rises like a ziggurat in the desert.
Torn by the wind.
Shattered by the elements.
Stabbed by blades of ice.
Blasted by the heat
of countless searing summers.
Hammered by lightning and
shook by roaring blasts of thunder.
The mythic monster’s head lolls
in its everlasting giant’s sleep.
The Diné’s old legend cast in stone.
Climb up. Go higher.
The far horizon unfolds
to reveal range after range of
fire-formed hills — blackened,
broken, and brittle in the sun.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Cabezon Peak, a volcanic plug, is a landmark of Navajo ancestral lands. It represents a slain giant’s head (Ye’i-tsoh) in their mythology. It is part of the Mount Taylor volcanic field and rises 2,000 feet over the desert in New Mexico.

Photos by the author. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ken Hartke is a writer and photographer from the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, but was originally planted and nourished in the Midwest. His New Mexico images now inspire much of his writing. He has contributed work for the Late Orphan Project’s anthology These Winter Months (The Backpack Press), and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. He keeps an active web presence on El Malpais, malpaisweb.wordpress.com, and other places.