Size / / /

Imperishable blue this bitter sky

that Chaak abandons, brighter day by day

until maize withers. Soon the rain-priests say

someone—or all of us—must go to die.

Beside our great cenote where the earth

has sunk to darkness like a clubbed-in skull,

they kindle leaves & clay with rare copal

to heal a god who summons clouds to birth.

Amid their sacred smoke, a treasure gleams:

cool hue of water, life . . . & sacrifice

now struggling in their grip, this season's price

fresh-painted to placate Chaak with his screams.

Above us in the silence yet to come,

deep thunder speaks—then lightning-axes fall

among the stubborn clouds. How beautiful

the storm upon our faces, & how numb

our hearts to one necessity has claimed.

So history will claim our temple walls,

our ball courts, altars, glyphs beyond recall,

our gods forgotten & our kings unnamed.

Yet centuries ahead, when men seek clues

to solve our lives, one certainty remains:

among these bones we bartered for the rains,

fate gazes back imperishable blue.

Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and volunteers at her local branch library in Westminster, CO. Her most recent poetry collection is Twisted in Dream (Hippocampus Press 2011). Her dark SF poetry collection Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam's Dot Publishing, 2010) was a Bram Stoker Award nominee. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. Her LiveJournal is Yaddith Times.
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