Cortez

cortez

Walking down from out of the small hills,

we saw on the lake, floating like a ship in a

fevered dream, Tenochtitlan.

Its palaces and temples and strange structures

unnamed, its majesty rivaling anything in Europe.

Everything in ordered rows, painted in bright colors,

marketplaces full of people and fruits and vegetables

and wares, everywhere the sound of people.

We knew of their ways.

They came to us and gave gifts and gold, and a wondrous

headdress; they acted as though I was a god.

These heathen Indians.

They prayed to strange and eclectic gods, made

sacrifices of men! So many people slaughtered.

My men and I watched as priests cut open chests

and in great torrents of wine-red blood, pulled still beating

hearts from their victims. The long stairs of their towers

had rivulets of it flowing down them, cascades of corpses

and the stink of iron filled their vast plazas.

I came to bring them the rule of Spain!

I came to bring them Jesus Christ and the blessed

Virgin!

I came to collect the treasures that were so obviously

mine to have.

I gave that idiot Moctezuma every chance to control his

people, I promised him his honor as a nobleman.

But those beautiful feathers placed on my shoulders

whispered  to me of victory.

And I took it.

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