Voices on the Wind Voices on Relaxation
Vision at Ojo Caliente Spa by David Southward The aesthetician leads me down a hall with many doors, to one reserved for me and asks me to disrobe. Light as a seed I slip inside the table’s cotton pocket— tucked there by the wedging of her hands beneath my ribcage, thighs, and ticklish calves. She wraps my neck and feet with hot washcloths— so hot the muscles soften as I sink into a mummified state. Eyelids sealed with moistened petals, I breathe in the scent of eucalyptus whipped into emollients. She spreads the granule butter with both hands, finger-painting my forehead, cheeks, and chin in looping figure eights until my features disappear. Impressions bubble up through pores in time, the sloughed identities vacationers try on: Georgia O’Keefe standing nude by a mud bath, her lover molding her in the desert’s mauve and tan with a wood spatula. Parched in the sun, her face is an exfoliating mask with holes for eyes, its whiteness camouflaged in lizard skin. At dusk the fluttering wings of a hawk across the mesa’s ridge remind her of a charred black crucifix the missionaries left on the horizon. In Taos, above the juniper’s green fan, an eastern heiress wed the Pueblo prince who promised her a pink adobe house and laid its molten walls with his bare hands. In dream-speech one remembers what they said: Follow the spiral stairway. Feel the pith of being in your body’s sacred lake, while fingers on a shimmering guitar reanimate the dormant reservoir.