First (a ghazal)

The second to third to last men will claim first,

penetrate a womb, build marble idols, name it first.


Petty rock spirits couldn’t keep Cortés away;

The wooden and roped idols touched the Sun first


before a crown-wielding encroachment raped the shores,

stabbing tongues with fire speech and crosses first.


Next, they take the daughters, steal our hospitality;

Columbus’ collection is hungry and thirsty. Drink first


From the last forest vein, some old exotic sweetness

melting on teeth like Spanish fire. These old bones, first


of our kind, will break under the weight of their industry,

temples collapsing to churches. Above all, know this first:


it doesn’t matter who came, the second to the third to the last.

When the young ones ask, answer that the old ones were the first.


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