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