top of page

Paul Hlava Ceballos

Kingdom of the Americas Sonnets:
Rahua Ocllo, Queen and Mother

My first thought: what could I have done? 
The second: who else dies today?  
When my first son was sentenced, chained 
in a public square, I slapped him. 

When my second son was murdered, 
every new bird choked on shed fur. 
My boys, who splashed war in the bath. 
Nude and brown, tousled in blankets. 

Men taught me body is a debt 
to lust or sun-god, paid with life. 
I was born, married off, alive 
as curse. When a white man bought me, 

he did not know my pitted heart.
I smile. My love will bury him.

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

bottom of page