The Cult of Kukulkan
Last night I lowered myself into a well. I spent the night in a serpent’s mouth, speaking to a god. Come sunrise, I forgot to ask for his name. I resisted the raindrops in between his teeth. Despite my thirst, I’m wary of drinking from the crevices of men. He was a feathered one, I think. Would’ve expected a pyramid or a son from me. I’d much rather have my gods help me sweep the earth. But no, they hide their demons in the dusty corners of my home. Pull at my skirts and invite me into the underworld, they do. Quake after quake after quake I still dream of Tulum blue. We’re in a generation-long drought, can’t you see? All the fertile women are gone. Died in a battle, they did. Left us the monkey children and took the last of the maize.
Now give me a god who will tend to my harvest. Give me a god who will patch the tears in my sheets. Give me any god who will not ask me to dance at his behest.
Maybe then, this god will be worth remembering.
Nothing feels as empty as the trails of the earth. Where once, me and you, now runs a serpent. Bodied thing I am jealous of. With no arms to reach for you. No legs to keep me put. You see, I love standing on puddles during storms. Then comes the sun and I find myself in a hole. Never had to carve myself out of the present. I stay, always. One day I’ll drown myself. I’ve heard all about this soil and its precariousness. No doubt the terracotta will outlive me. I am porous. Meant for permeability. My output is my weakness. Everything inside me is shriveled up. Old things. Uncared for. Left behind in floods. Found drying in the sand. Nothing has ever restored its composition. Chemistry, I know. Nothing ever dies. But the sun and the salt will eat away at me. You have to believe me. I am withered. Meant to serve in the afterlife.
But let me tell you a secret:
I’ve been to the bowels of the earth,
and there is none.
Alejandra Cabezas is a poet and storyteller from Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, CURA, 128 Lit, The Beaver Magazine print anthology, Moida Magazine, The Literary Bohemian, and elsewhere. She was named Poet of the Month by YES Poetry and represented Mount Holyoke at the 2021 Glascock Poetry Contest. She currently resides in Amsterdam, where she works on an MA in Museums and Heritage.