'Quetzalcoatl' by Sarah Holland-Batt | States of Poetry Queensland - Series One

—for Vera Pavlova, in Mexico City

On the bus to Teotihuacan, we turn
a new god's name on our tongues

like a charm, jagging past
cinderblocked hills

chocked over the motorway,
grey pixels stacked so high they merge

with the smoked white Mexican sky—
then a guitar player in the aisle

begins a song whose only familiar
word is corazon, we move on, billboards

graffitied Narco Estado scream by,
and I think of the jostling in the plaza

last night during the Ayotzinapa strike,
candled light salving poster faces

of the missing, and wonder
whether there is a god

who bothers to bless those who travel
on buses, not only those who scale

blunt steep steps of pyramids
where the world bends to an untenable angle

as if to say, kneel, human,
your heart isn't enough—

give me your life.

Sarah Holland-Batt


Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt's most recent book of poems is The Hazards (UQP, 2015), which has been shortlisted in the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, the NSW Premier's Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, the AFAL John Bray Memorial Poetry Prize, and the Queensland Literary Awards Judith Wright Calanthe Award. She is the editor of The Best Australian Poems 2016 (Black Inc.), and works as a Senior Lecturer at QUT and the poetry editor of Island.