The Indians

The Indians

descend

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

shone vestments

and crowns

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,

in groups,

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

as prisoners.

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

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