Thursday, October 3, 2013


Across my back yard, trampling my hybrids and leaving divots in the lawn,
come Conquistadors.

They are a tired, yet arrogant, bunch.

They are unshaven and appear to have run out of soap and polish.
They have been wandering for a long time,
and they frankly stink.

My neighbors in all directions declared them gods,
and were dealt with at the point of a lance.
A few coughed themselves to death deep in the trees,
and their pets have gone feral.

I am the last to spit at mention of their name,
and now they have come for me;
I was waiting. 
My skin is rich with dark tattoos no Spanish lady would ever allow,
but do you see them here?
Watch, and I will summon them.

The Conquistadors laugh at the locals,
and have exterminated us for profit and simply because they could.
They have lice and diseases unnamed.

As they approach my door, I lift my hair.
I kiss the Catholic cross on its leather string,
and slip it over my head.
It rests between my breasts, where they can't miss it.

Do you suppose that men who no longer fear God
might still fear the trappings of God,
the ones they learned at their mother's knee back in Granada or Seville?

I conjure these women, sisters and sweethearts too,
each of them devout and pure, at least around family.
"Watch where you're walking!" I call.
The Conquistadors look up.
"Have respect!" 

I am dressed all in black, 
like the funeral of all they once had faith in.
I tell them it is Sunday--
they have been in the wilderness or at sea for so long, they have no idea.
I have tied a rope to one of my mules,
and he chooses this moment to take a few steps, ringing the bells.

The tarnished helmets come off,
and the Conquistadors make the sign of the cross,
stiffly, as if their fingers had forgotten the motions.
They may rape me tomorrow.
They may slit my throat and burn my house,
but for today
I have them in the palm of my hand.

I silently pray to my pagan American goddess
to inspire me with a way to close my fingers and snuff these Grandee bastards
while they mill in my yard
like rams who have, for a moment, forgotten their quarrels and horns.


TexWisGirl said...

fantastically written.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

They have "exterminated us for profit - simply because they could". That really speaks to me - happening the world over. You tell fantastic stories, Shay, as only you can.

Lolamouse said...

Love this, Shay! Reminds me of the Southern Baptists I encountered in SC who would get drunk, fight, and cheat on Friday and Sat. and then would go to church on Sunday to make it all right. I, of course, was a heathen!

HermanTurnip said...

Ahhh, a wolf hides among the sheep. So well written...

Anonymous said...

powerful tale, Shay

Kathryn said...

Wow. Powerful, dark and gripping.

Kerry O'Connor said...

A slice of history, turned her story, and all the more potent for its authentic voice. What a moment you have described.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Don't trust 'em! Wipe them out now while you have the chance. But, you know what to do...

hedgewitch said...

Holy water and a crucifix often come in handy when dealing with sheer evil. This poem is itself a spell that ought to strike some terror into the armor-plated Beast. I'd say the country is ready for some divine intervention.

Daryl said...

very intense said...

You have so much poetry inside of you that I feel the words overflowing into Minnesota.

LOVE & Appreciate. Xx

Other Mary said...

Do you suppose that men who no longer fear God
might still fear the trappings of God,

I wonder...

Kudos Shay.

Robert Bourne said...

enjoyed this immensely... well done

Mama Zen said...

Girl, this is one of your best.

Betty Manousos said...

love it! you have a way with words!!