for Tene Chuk Awum
Mayan excavation site
Yucatan, Mexico

Small birds, their wings folded carefully,
accompany the dead, their bones
washed in slow currents until they
shine brown and smooth as the upright
pews of the church, a foreign temple
built far above this flooded cave,
this cavern of repose.

In the plaza, the scholars
display their finds, exclaim
at each bone and skull, shadowed
sockets full of grief.

A villager stands
straight-backed, arms folded.
His face, polished-wood dark, drips
water from the stone-lipped well.
An inflamed sun strikes his white
shirt, best shirt, worn especially for today.
If they ask, he will answer in a language
not quite his own,
Solo yo quise ver los anteposados regresar al hagar. *






*“I just wanted to watch my ancestors come home.”