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Coronado Heights

By John I. Blair

In Tenochtitlán
There had been so little gold
For such gouts of blood;
Even the temple steps ran red,
Though that was not the Spaniards’ doing.

With no one left to butcher in the Valley
(The priests saved some to slave on haciendas),
Don Vasquez de Coronado
Marched north across the mountains,
Over the rivers, seeking Quivira,
Seeking more.

* * *

Vastness beyond vastness,
Grass eternities that dwarfed men,
Cataracts of shaggy beasts,
A dearth of gold, dusty death,
A breastplate, helmet,
Broken sword rusting in the earth;
A curse.

* * *

Motoring out from Lindsborg
Through regimented wheatfields
One soon comes to Coronado Heights.

On this hill (according to a bullet-dented sign)
A ragged Spanish expedition stopped,
Gave up on finding fortune, turned
And straggled back to México.

Now there’s just a battered park pavilion,
With cigarette butts, and worse,
Scattered on its filthy floor.

©2004 John I. Blair

Click on author's byline for bio.

Below: Coronado Heights Thunderstorm


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