Paul Hlava Ceballos
Kingdom of the Americas Sonnets:
I was taken from family
warfare, weaned in a stranger’s crib.
Raised by toil and forge, I simmered
gold with copper to grow harder
though less pure—this undeserved crown.
Am I noble enough to save
an empire? Strangers eye me and
ask what I am; I am half child
of royal lust, half unmarked grave,
skin scorched by our spiraling stars.
Mice devoured this toppled nest. Mouse,
live on as a bird. I must learn
to split my own hard shell to find
the small god inside it, like you.
from banana [ ], winner of the 2021 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry