Smoking Mirror, Turquoise Light

Sonya Wohletz

Here he comes, that wicked Tezcatlipoca
With his rotting leg, those yellow teeth!

Creeping slyly through the jungle,
Crouched in humid rank of loam and thunder

Smooth eyeballs, so sharp and round and blue,
Polished clean with prickling dust—

Beneath the paper bands and knotted feathers of
That greasy black headdress.

I think I saw him sink
His head
beneath the wide volcano thigh.

Is he coming here
To devour or did he come
Around to die? Wait.

Do not

The sky clears upon my
feldspar hill, blue reeds slicing
at the swamp. My cloak
Is blue just like the sun.
I cannot prize
it from my crust.
The wind is crying out
The merchants move below.

Red clay dissolves with light’s decay.
I am troubled by what I cannot know.

I pierce
A turquoise spike
Into tired flesh of sun.

They spoke to me of omens,
A sick bird flew through my halls
A mirror fixed upon its breast—

And even then,
Only I could read my reflection.

The bloodied eagle,
Adorned with down and blue
stomach splayed with beating blade,

I need to lie inside your pain.

And so surrender to the earth
Her dirty, stinking filth.
Squatting low, legs wide apart,

We are coming forth.

I feel the slip
The warming shock of you,
Your pulse pushed
Flat against my palm.

I turn aside. I
Caste you
down and

Ratify this
Turquoise pledge.

When Venus darts strike
Down the plinth, the serpent
Comes to life.

Electric blades and mandibles
Erected at my flanks.
Night is cold
And I am ready.

From the wide deep vessel
You finally emerged. We drank
And ate together there,
The corn so soft and blue,
Chocolate boiled down with
Flesh and chile pods.

You showed me in your mirror
As we licked our wet fat lips,
Those fortunes yet to come
And those we had endured.

I could not see so clearly
For the concave belly lens,
It warped the image there—

The whispered voice--
The floating glare. I
Stare into its void.

And yet,
It drifts above, suspended in midair-
The smell of burning books.

My cloak is turquoise
My legs are jade and chalk.
I wore them down upon the causeways
Surveying as I walked.
The city was proud and
I was
Strong, those generations
Gold powdered prayers--
sun’s excrement, had
Settled there among
the pavements.
Hungry dogs came
to lap them up
While the lapidaries
Fashioned me
a regal
turquoise plaque.
A mosaic eye,
a pyrite disc, each ray
of light

I strapped it tight across
my chest and sculpted
gods from amaranth.

His mirror smokes, I smell
His breath--it casts
An ancient sheen
Across the hollows of this
hill I call upon
The turquoise rain
The rain will come
The fire will die
And day-namers once again
Will speak

In voices, pure and blue, as they tend
The dying mothers and dream out loud--
their children.

The sun is setting low.
Upon one blade of reed,
She spills her turquoise blood.
I cannot staunch the east.

Go, tell the priest,
You must tell him this at once:
To cover himself in dark pitch,
To bring me stingray bones.

(Once again, I will embrace the city
And descend from this hill top)
I heed not necessity,
Nor wish to do you well.
I cannot rest my wit on myth.
Nor play the battle call—

For it’s far too late to
Set that trap. And so, I vow to
honor thee—Together we’ll dissolve
This clotted enmity.

(Quickly now,
I beseech thee,
The bearded ones approach...)

Go, now, bring me thy
obsidian mirror--
And bathe it thick with honey,
Coat it thickly thrice.

Together we’ll lick it cleanly off.
and watch the world begin again as
Shadows in darkened streets---
where even turquoise light cannot reach.

The city is quiet--its citizens
Are proud but quiet.

The enemy sweetly ascends--but
Our honey is much sweeter.

Let it slip silently
beneath our throats

To slake
this sickly thirst.

Sonya Wohletz is a bat that was born in a golden cave in New Mexico. She transformed into a human a few decades ago and flew to the Pacific Northwest to roost. Now that she enjoys the use of opposable thumbs, she writes fiction, poetry, and paints.

Issue 18
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