The executioner in the painting by Castro Pacheco
in the Governor’s Palace in Merida appears poised
to initiate the torture entrusted to him.
The spearhead has been heated to a fiery glow,
the sword honed to suit the grisly work he is
about to undertake, to punish the refusal
of the defiant Mayan captives to accept
the one true god of the Spaniards, to forsake
their multiple stone-faced idols.
Now, this Mayan is about to be drawn and quartered.
But first, his body must be made to suffer
the worst indignities humans inflict
willingly upon their own kind. Here in Merida,
the heated spear sears and sizzles our flesh,
we feel the burning pain of history’s lies.