Inca Child

by Elisabeth Murawski

They carry him up the mountain,
give him chicha to calm.
What is an honor?

What are these gold toys to him?
He cries for his mother,
misses his dog. A condor

flies over. The boy vomits
the chicha, soils
the bright red blanket

they’ve wrapped him in
tight as a mummy. The priest comes,
in his hand a perfect stone.

The sound it makes
cracking a skull
is like the sound a tree makes

surrendering to the ax
before it falls.
Then all is silent as the sun

on the mountaintop
where the god dwells
in hunger and thinner air.


Elisabeth Murawski is the author of Heiress, Zorba’s Daughterwhich won the May Swenson Poetry Award, Moon and Mercury, and three chapbooks. Still Life with Timex won the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize and will be published in early 2021

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