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Paul Hlava Ceballos

Kingdom of the Americas Sonnets:
Huáscar Speaks to Atahualpa,
the Brother Who Drowned Him

I was the chosen son; you were 
stronger. Brother, the city flames 
while fled doves build new nests in roofs 
of surrounding armies’ shelters. 
I love you like lake water fills 
lungs. Like gold ore fills your prison.
As boys, you always won the game 
where we threw knives near each other’s 
feet; you knew to care is to cut 
something free. Father died in boils. 
Wooden cities float off the coast 
like our childhoods drifting apart. 
I aimed my blade at you because 
scars are where the skin grows hardest.

from banana [ ], winner of the 2021 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry

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