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Paul Hlava Ceballos

Kingdom of the Americas Sonnets:
Túpac Huallpa, the Puppet King

I proclaim the invaders gods
with a slipknot lodged in my throat.
Who are these men on hooves who claim 
stones pulled from our earth, and our earth? 
A gift, like god, belongs to the
giver. These men exploit mountains

as my brothers’ heads hang from rope 
and drift in breeze to the next world—
boys who once looked through me, called me
half-breed, bastard. Now their killers 
offer words, like profit and gun
Do I pay them land as ransom 

or stand like my brothers—mere air 
from the next world ruffles my hair.

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

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