Universal Atlas | A Survey Of Our Wares

Sestina Two

Early in the morning a radio breaks the night’s silence “Last night I dreamed
I was a child out where the pines grow tall…” Early. 4:32 a.m. The darkness
Of night tinted in the greenish blue of the alarm clock light. Clocks. Cocks.
The dying rooster in the Zona Maya, coughing it’s daybreak alarm, always
Two hours premature, I inevitably laughed, it resounded drunk and earnest,
And with no more hen-houses to invade, it lived to torment the conquistadors.

As you get out of bed do this – sing your song, sing a song of ruthless conquistadors
Spreading a plague, sing of toothbrush and toiletries, sing the dream you dreamed.
And afterward as you greet the sun, oh hallowed burning sphere, laugh in earnest.
How did the torchbearers occupy themselves in the hours before the darkness?
With song of course, blathered or chirped, soothing yet cautious, always
Deep in the pocket of an unwritten groove. Observe the iron weather-vane cocks

Spinning in the dawn wind. Squeaky, grinding, cast iron replacing ancient cocks
Crow, hardwired to our biology over thousands of years. Farmers, kings, conquistadors,
All woken by the proud foul. In your primal brain, woven, programed, always.
In sleep comes the home invasions, now I must even shut the cat door. I’ve dreamed
Of landscapes and implausible choreographies, someone needs to chide the darkness,
It’s become too full of itself, but then again who can blame a repository? Earnest

Dreams. Awake the vivid images twist in some surreal landscape. I fall back to earnest
sleep – or somewhere in-between. Dawn light through the blinds. What is it about cocks?
Half asleep, half awake, mind still in the dream place and I stiff as a pine. Off in darkness
A man crouches, blowing on sparks in a bird’s nest of bark shavings. Lost conquistadors
May soon upon him stumble, one kicks a pebble into a puddle or have you dreamed
That tiny splash that now echoes from the hotel bathroom, a faucet drip can always

Keep me up at night. I always search for the pattern. The Morse Code echoing, always
In every hotel, motel bathroom into the dreams of travelers. A message, subtle, earnest,
Through pipes and plumbing, sings softly, “Wake! See the world around you!” I dreamed
Less once I reached the cenote. I swam among the shards and bones. The cocks
Fighting behind the palapa were ownerless, there were no modern conquistadors
Tossing pesos on the dirt. The souvenir pyramid, visible on nightstand despite darkness,

Reflecting the rays of light breaking through the blinds, but within it a perfect darkness.
Darkness deep within its heart and in the few seconds of real of twilight, always,
For as long as I could remember – the echoing, horrified screams of conquistadors.
How many times have you met your oppressor, legs akimbo, arms spread wide, earnest
Smile? The light stabs the bulletholes in this allegory. The invaders and their cocks
Stab brown-skinned Eves, in Edens so golden it’s all you’ve ever dreamed.

A limestone bed so porous that we dreamed – dreamed of numbers and darkness
Like scared children holding our cocks, cowering and alert. Always
The sacrifices made in earnest, turn gold into lead for conquistadors.

by Jeffrey Enright and Laurence Lillvik

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