A Spiral-Maker’s Questions

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

A breeze upon the spiral’s door

is unpredicted, ephemeral

spirit without purpose

so unlike

The lines of the sun

The shadows of the moon

darkness and light, predictable

walls sighted to the lines

bright markers

Alive long after The People

Have danced and moaned their last

The man with the stone tools tapped all day tracing the charcoal spiral marked upon the doorway column. On the first day of spring a morning shadow bordered one side of the spiral and on the last day of spring a shadow bordered the other. The shadow point of a nearby roof pierced the spiral’s center on the longest day of the year. As the man worked, children suspended their never-ending games to watch.

“What if it’s in the wrong place?” asked the boy who questioned everything.

“Then we will move the sun to make it right,” said the stone carver without missing a tap. Flakes of stone and dust fell away leaving a pecked pattern that erased the charcoal lines.

“No one can move the sun,” said the boy.

“Yet the sun moves,” said the stone tapper. “How can that be?”

“No people can move the sun.”

“So who moves the sun? Do any of you know?”

“The Creator,” whispered a little girl.

“The Sun God moves himself,” said another boy.

“Is there anything that would make it stop moving?” asked the boy with the questions.

“The sun stops for only one reason,” said the man.


“It stops only to stare at boys who ask too many questions.” He kept tapping.

“Is it stopped right now?” the boy asked.

The tapper kept working. “Yes.”

“When I stop asking questions, will it start back again from where it stopped, or will it jump ahead to where it should be?”

The man stopped and looked at the boy. Then he turned back to his tapping. “It will start up from where it left off, which could be days from now if you keep asking questions.”

The children watched him work.

“Then your spiral is in the wrong place,” said the boy.

“What?” asked the man.

“If the sun doesn’t jump ahead to where it’s supposed to be from when you started tapping, your spiral will be in the wrong place.”

Again, the man turned and looked at the boy. For a long time he stared. “It is a good thing,” he said, shaking his head and turning back to his work, “that you are the son of a farmer.”


“Because if you were the son of a spiral-maker, this stone I hold would be tapping some sense into your head.” The children laughed, and the the spiral-maker held up his tapping stone as if to go after the boy with questions, who squealed and ran.

# # #

Did the opening poem add or subtract?


Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction, Hopi

14 responses to “A Spiral-Maker’s Questions

  1. Jon Gilbert

    I missed leaving a comment earlier. You have such a grasp of words and present them with such clarity (yet in an intricate way). It’s an inviting juxtaposition

  2. ditty1013

    I thought this was a really cute piece. Very sweet, and humorous, too. Good job!

  3. KjM

    “Alive long after The People
    Have danced and moaned their last”

    Evocative – particularly as the markings left by the People have, indeed, survived long after they are all gone.

    Wonderful back-and-forth between the spiral-maker and the boy. Such a boy will grow up (assuming he survives) to be wise.

    Thank you for the peaceful interlude.

  4. I like the poem. I like the contrast between the poem and the prose.

    Our solemn writings and our daily jokings are like that. Two very different ways of presenting the same thing. And some people understand the important thing through one, others through the other.

  5. The poem was a nice touch. One of the things you do so well is show why their practices and beliefs are so important to them, and in turn to us, without being heavy-handed.

    Your dialogue shows us so much more about the spiral maker then narrative ever could.


  6. This was a delight – the boy is a comic genius and I have the clearest image of a spiral maker giving him a withering look.

    I am indifferent on the poem – or perhaps not indifferent but in two minds. On the one hand, it is a spiral! On the other, the light-hearted dialogue is maybe a little too much on a different side of the spectrum to the poem, so perhaps it detracts a little.

    One minor point: I felt maybe there were maybe one too many shadows in the first paragraph

  7. Deanna Schrayer

    This reminded me so much of me and my own son. He asks A LOT of (logical) questions. 🙂
    I love the poem, and the story both. Great flow!

  8. soesposito

    I like these non-action insights into the every day life of your characters, the way they think and believe. I’m sure the spiral maker was happy the boy was taking an interest in his work, even if he was acting annoyed. 🙂 OH, and loved the poem.

  9. I appreciated your poem Jeff, as a finely done finishing touch, yet I shall be the contrarian this time in saying it was an extra flourish and not needed for me. I enjoyed the dialog between the stone tapper and children purely on its own merit.

  10. I was quite impressed with the poem. Not only does it blend seamlessly with the world you have been constructing for us, it works great as poem all on its own.

    I thought the story was cute. Given the brutality we have seen in this society to date, it was nice to see a bit of the lighter side of life these people lead (though I’m sure the boy who asks to many questions will play a heavier roll some day).

  11. Loved the poem. It’s your voice. Write more. Peace, Linda

  12. Did like the poem–and it’s jagged look–!

    You continue to handle dialogue in a very believable, wonderful way.

    As always, very good read!

  13. I loved both the poem and the conversation with the inquisitive boy (I would have already tapped his head with the stone!). I especially liked the line “Have danced and moaned their last” It encompassed their lives beautifully.

  14. One of the highlights of fridayflash, is awaiting your post.

    I think the way the spiral maker talked to the boy was extremely believable – and the boys constant questions.

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