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