Baskets of Severed Hands

by Christopher T. George
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, September 2015
Judged by C. Wade Bentley

When the white-skinned visitors arrived,
the Capucho offered no helping hand.
Cardinal Rosario, garlic-breathed and plump
with satisfaction, offered them the comfort
of the flesh and blood of Jesus, yet
they liked better their jade gods
and the promise of eternal sunrises.
General Francisco came in search of gold,
having heard the legends that had filtered
even across the ocean: idols of burnished gold
with irises of sapphire, navels of emerald.
So it was just a question of who would disclose
the secret first. The General prided himself
a student of men. He knew there is always
a way to make men speak. He sucked his teeth,
“Cardinal, every hombre has a breaking point.”
So his minions prepared the raffia baskets,
the keenest Toledo blades.