Lempira and the Eagle

in Poetry by

A colossal bird clutching dollars and chains in its talons stares
eastward, its sable feathers matted with oil Each head constantly
nipping at the other leaving putrid sores that never
heal In place of eyes black holes containing the deep expanse of naught

In its shadow the world’s loot carried along a dark highway winding
its way through a tropical forest, near the waters of Yojoa
where the King of the Mountain lays tied to a towering pine
and the fruits of his dominion float beneath his beaten crown

An unnatural spring runs its crimson course northward past volcanic
craters flooded with liquid sky and the dead cities of Mayan bones gazing
up at all time Past fields where martyrs charge headlong into eternity and the dried
skin of a green serpent guards the perch of that ferocious eagle

The torrent fed by tens of thousands of scarlet tributaries moaning
as it surges onward traversing leafy hills, buff wastelands & slate
simian overgrowths choking on smoke till it reaches the place where the devious
winged thing swoops down & moistens its terrorizing beaks

From the south comes a thunderous cry let loose
from the canopy of the sweeping verdant isthmus where
the ancient chief lifts his head & hears a million spirits
speaking with one voice & the word they speak is Life!

Feathers molting, the raptor delivers his shriek, tearing
the horizon rattling Lenca skulls and ribcages, gashing the sun that turns
blood-red Mountains quivering, rivers shrinking away, the sky folding Majestic
trees collapse in the tempest stirred as the monstrous bird takes wing

Dreams wither where the eagle’s shadow falls on the land stretching
across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras
all the way to the canal & beyond, to the land of fire, the places
Iberian savages wolfishly rediscovered There the ghosts of guerrilla sophists mourn


Featured image: Go Closer!/Flickr

Hector is the editor of MANO. He's also the host of Latinish and Hits from the Brain. A Chicagoan living in Las Vegas, he's a former deputy editor of Latino Rebels, as well as a former managing editor of Gozamos, an art-activism site based in his home town. He has contributed to RedEye, a Tribune-owned daily geared toward millennials. His work has been mentioned by The New Yorker, TIME and other outlets, and his writing was featured in Ricanstruction, a comic book anthology whose proceeds went toward recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Hector studied history (for some reason) at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where his focus was on ethnic relations in the United States.

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