Issue 5

Contest Winners

John Nieves

Tlaloc


You puzzled over my face in an encyclopedia
of mythology. Was I a puma, a serpent or a frog?
I will tell you this much, my tongue is longer
than any love you will ever have. You wondered

how I could have been part of a pantheon when
I was the god of storms and rain, harvest and birth,
fire and death. What did that leave? Then you saw
that I married the moon. You read of my artifacts,

pondered the vines and the mud and the ferns that
covered them for so long. Then you reached into my
past, stole lightning and orchids for the lips of
the woman who dropped her towel near your feet. But,

as my people knew, everyone who claims part of the
jungle is eventually reclaimed. I have already picked
out the spot where your body will fall and be forgotten.
I have already plucked your name from the wind.