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Divine Rights

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Sprawling like some small group of picnickers,
They're propped among the shadows of the trees,
Though one seems drunk, spread-eagled. Nothing stirs
Except the flies that clog their cavities.
A red cleft rules the parting of that head.
You stretch a little and slide out of bed.

Acres of debris are in sodden flood   
About the ruined village, which concedes
In blackened matchwood to the tide of mud
Its smoking households. Rising from the weeds,
Arms reach up stiffly, as for an embrace.
Out of the mirror you observe your face

While sunlight offers all that you desire.
The Aztecs, to appease your counterparts,
Would hook still-living bodies from the fire,
Hack out and hold aloft the pulsing hearts,
Drenching the steps with blood, so they might give
Those idle brutes each day a day to live.

You have today. Stark-eyed and hollow-faced,
Her rigid ribcage almost bursting through
The skin, a girl sits in a land laid waste
And stares out blankly. So then, it is you—
The thought had not occurred to you before—
It's you, Huitzilopochtli, God of War.

Source: Poetry (January 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Divine Rights

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