Cibola 29

This entry is part 29 of 119 in the series Cibola


Marcos (1) (cont’d)

Who but the Lord?
For idealists like Las Casas there’d be
few other options, denying Satan’s power
as they do. With a conjuror’s wave
Bartolomé used to dismiss all talk
of rivals to the Good Word:
Men need little help to lie,
to covet, to rebel. It’s
our conscious choice of the light
that makes us worthy of salvation.

He revisits the memory a second time
in a slightly different key, rehearses
the argument as it should’ve happened:
an articulate Marcos pointing out
that with malevolent spirits so strong–
their rites so various & seemingly ancient–
would it not rather seem the case
that these tattooed nations sprang
from none but Cain, first & most deceitful
of all marked men?

For not only sorcerers & idolatrous priests
but everyone, as he’d discovered–
everyone consorted with familiars.
In dreams they came chivvying,
dickering down the price of a soul
to little more than power
over a game of sticks,
success with women or the hunt.
And if not in dreams, in drugged trances.

Or merely through mortification of the flesh:
he remembered how as they died
they begged for hairshirts.


first & most deceitful of all marked men: See Genesis 4:15.

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