The mala I've been waiting for are skulls wrapped around my wrist, and I watch them circle bone and wonder why Cusco sometimes seems to chew me up like no place ever has.

I sit most of the day on the cold stairs outside my bedroom wrapped in the wisdom blanket, learning new words from an ancient tongue. Here strange meteors are embedded with geometric patterns of molten rock, begging you to think outside the confines of this earth. At night I sprint home from Plaza de Armas, through the only city I've ever truly lived in. Under the balcony of the devil I dry my ankles, where the staggering cold has lapped up against my calves.

Time and again, though with wide spaces in between, I sink hips into frog squat: malasana, and pull hands into heart center, plug the thumbs into the chest and feel the ruddy, rounded red woman I sometimes can be, the soft give of the pelvic floor and the roots and the raw and the real.

There is still so much I care to release, to make way for the things and the people I crave to learn about, for the things I will one day tell only them, and no one else.

On Sundays I think about dinner for the first time all week and cook for the travelers who have become part of my home. Each of them an offering on my Sadhana. We play Rising Appalachia and shuck Choclo, like cartoon corn, and pick through wilted offerings of basil. Sweet potatoes rounded in the palm to hold you here, cabbage curling upward, and small, bright hot peppers that long to be dropped from the tree outside the kitchen. With pestle and mortar I crack peppercorn that beg boldly, bay leaves that chant crisply, and tender shoots of garlic. We are rounded and well women and here we sway with spices.