during the time of omens

the voice of Cihuacoatl
came at night
a comet in lamentation
an echo in the bone

the voice of the weeping woman
came from the mirror
the bird’s diadem

the strange ones on the shores
the earth quaked
the hanging ropes
from the sky

Motecuhzoma sent
the sorcerers
shields of spellbound blood
to destroy

the Castilians
the harmful winds
in the wrong direction

Motecuhzoma imprisoned
the wizards
the guards opened the doors
to empty rooms

the magicians flew
to the ends of the earth
their houses

foundations rooted out
only the air still echoed
with smallpox

the voice of the other woman weeping
came from the lake
the Castilian brigantines
sailed across

Ray Ball


Ray Ball, Ph.D., is a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When not in the classroom or the archives, she enjoys running marathons and spending time with her spouse Mark and beagle Bailey. She is the author of two history books and her creative work has recently appeared in Cirque, Dirty Paws Poetry Review, L’Éphémère Review, and The Cabinet of Heed. She tweets @ProfessorBall

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