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MAIUS MEMENTO

In that year
a scroll recorded the fact.
I saw it once.

Magnificent, though in ruin.
Thick veil of gesso
in white efflorescence,
blinded by the sun and wind
and rain.

A rising snake
around the horned moon.
At the base of the spine,
a sense of vowel.
In the middle, the naming text.

I saw it once;
fluttered from her mouth,
flew up to the tree,
here and there,
until its voice was burned
by the light and time
and me.

A square box
with sacred books,
palm leaves, clay, stones;
flaming tongues in a watery world.

In that year
I wrote the name of my god,
and the name of the city of my god,
and my new name.

Now, I want to go home.
Too many trees, and vicious birds
preyed upon my eyes.

A sack of black
to paint the skin of my corpse.
A bed of paper;
red sun against my hair;
and these hands into the grave,
down to my dream.

Fold it! I say.
There is a temple near,
and a tomb.

      — Carmen Cano