El Señor de la Conquista


 Deposed, your feet can be seen,

soles leather-calloused like ours

that have never seen sandals.


Could you walk the hot sand earth

with large nail holes in each foot,

blood caking dust to red adobe?


Up there then we must believe

you hurt not for but like us,

lynched as one among many,


unnamed, unnumbered, unknown.

What the black robes said and say

we hear but do not believe:


that dying you made us well

forever. No: like the young

 deer with broken legs eaten


to death by coyotes and crows,

you, we were conquered, beaten

by men of more power than


our gods gave us, despite sun-

glint obsidian knives whose

priest-cuts kept the heart alive.


Taller men now rule and drain

our blood that  once flowed freely

from the altars, down the steep


stairs of the great pyramid,

into a single silver cup.

Se–or, as bitter to drink


one's own blood as the sour wine

they gave to you in a sponge.

Sweating blood ourselves, we know


your thirst. We have turned our gifts

back to making idols: you

and your mother are the best,


hung in every pueblo church.

She weeps, you bleed, apart. So

we believe. But take this not


for worship. It is pity.

You abide with us, not we

in you. For truth, pain instead:

 all of us have long been dead.