Poetry

Xibalba

21 June 2015

The underworld was located in a cave

somewhere in the jungle, the feet that led to it

buried in falling green leaves and precipitation:

a Tantalus-esque trench, a grove of people

transformed into trees.

The word now – the museum exhibit – evokes,

rather than insinuates, a serpent plumed headdress,

tattoos that go deeper than skin, blood on the pyramid

of Chicén-Itzá, a priest with a red dagger

and a flaming sword.

Later, Xibalba was identified:

a rift in space – a parsec the length of a virtuous soul

and its journey to Hun-Came’s ante room – Cygnus

and Sagittarius the pillars and doors –

a silent river.

Important – then – that the sky would literally stop.

The gods lived in us; the choice to stop

tantamount to Ragnarok – the Spanish hardly

understood the meaning when they found

our bodies.


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