maze after maze
with their emptiness on their backs.
In the past
they were warriors over all things.
They put up monuments to fire
and to the rains whose black fists
put the fruit in the earth.
In the theaters of their cities of colors
and golden masks
brought from faraway enemy empires.
They marked time
with numerical precision.
They gave their conquerors
liquid gold to drink
and grasped the heavens
like a tiny flower.
In our day
they plow and seed the ground
the same as in primitive times.
Their women shape clay
and the stones of the field, or weave
while the wind
disorders their long, coarse hair,
like that of goddesses.
I’ve seen them barefoot and almost nude,
guarded by voices poised like whips,
or drunk and wavering with the pools of the setting sun
on the way back to their shacks
in the last block of the forgotten.
I’ve talked with them up in their refuges
there in the mountains watched over by idols
where they are happy as deer
but quiet and deep
I’ve felt their faces
beat my eyes until the dying light
and so have discovered
my strength is neither
sound nor strong.
Next to their feet
that all the roads destroyed
I leave my own blood
written on an obscure bough.
–Roberto Sosa, Honduras