Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Mt. Llullaillaco"

She is Aclla, virgin of the sun, ripe at fifteen for sacrifice plucked from the horde of girls stabled with honor in the House of Chosen Women. The capacocha ritual deemed highest honor to a family and most sacred, is a journey that could claim more than the lives being offered, more than a virgin’s blood set to appease Incan gods to stave off the release of thick fire upon crops and cattle. The girl is frozen in a state of perfection with head bowed, dark hair skillfully plaited by mothers hands, strands falling over her shoulders, pieces lingering in front of her face touched in red pigments made from earth and berry. A dusting of coca leaves encrusted to her upper lip eases the pain of her sacrifice. And her body is bent like a bow, shoulders shrouded with the Iliclla, its’ brilliant red stripes clasped to her breast with hand turned silver. Legs are crossed, hands in her lap resting over her asco as if in prayer lost atop this icy pit, a crater formed from times the gods had no virgins. One looks at her face wondering if she tasted the salt laced into the ice as it fell on her pretty head 22,109 feet above the world. Aleathia Drehmer 2007

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