My stonemason John says he uses Elberton granite from Georgia It has the best grain and lasts the longest How long is long I ask Oh he says a thousand years I want more than hard gray stone to guard her silence I want stone that stays alive a megalith jammed deep into earth an antenna to amplify the signals emitted from her ash and bone I went to Ireland looking for the perfect stone found stone cottages and monuments mountains and fields of stone continuous rows of stonewalls wound round the island like an offering I found stone carvings of mermaids and ancient unnamed river gods a Sheela-na-Gig I thought I recognized having seen her name on the walls of a cave in the Dordogne along with her portrait cut and shaped on the rounded surface of soft white stone There are no stones where my mother and I were born only the jagged edges of memory ground down by the desert molcajete to caliche and polished round pebbles leaving no trace of history but an abandoned pulque farm an adobe jail and a dried up river bed
From Honoring the Stones by James O'Hern. Copyright © 2004 by James O'Hern. Published by Curbstone Press. Distributed by Consortium Book Sales & Dist. Reprinted by permission of Curbstone Press. All rights reserved.