'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