Maya Blue (at Chichen Itza)

By Ann K. Schwader

Imperishable blue this bitter sky

that Chaak abandons, brighter day by day

until maize withers. Soon the rain-priests say

someone—or all of us—must go to die.

Beside our great cenote where the earth

has sunk to darkness like a clubbed-in skull,

they kindle leaves & clay with rare copal

to heal a god who summons clouds to birth.

Amid their sacred smoke, a treasure gleams:

cool hue of water, life . . . & sacrifice

now struggling in their grip, this season's price

fresh-painted to placate Chaak with his screams.

Above us in the silence yet to come,

deep thunder speaks—then lightning-axes fall

among the stubborn clouds. How beautiful

the storm upon our faces, & how numb

our hearts to one necessity has claimed.

So history will claim our temple walls,

our ball courts, altars, glyphs beyond recall,

our gods forgotten & our kings unnamed.

Yet centuries ahead, when men seek clues

to solve our lives, one certainty remains:

among these bones we bartered for the rains,

fate gazes back imperishable blue.

Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and Corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. Her Lovecraftian sonnet sequence, In the Yaddith Time, was recently published by Mythos Books. Her work has appeared in Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Unanticipated, Dark Wisdom, and elsewhere, and has received numerous Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. You can find more of her work in our archives, in Strange Stars & Alien Shadows, Horrors Beyond, The Weird Sonneteers, and Architectures of Night, or on her website: