The Road Just Begun: U Beil Cho’—Chicxulub, San Benito, Telchac (Janet Phelan)


When she stepped outside
the sky was indigo and moonless
though she knew she saw it
just the night before
and when she got into the cab
she caught a glimpse of it
in the rear view mirror
slung low on the horizon
and, as always,
just out of reach

She gave the driver her destination
and saw his eyes calmly
assess her
in that mirror which she now
thinks may contain
more than one reality
cradling worlds held in paradoxical
simultaneity

Mayan
she thought
glancing at the photograph
pasted on the dashboard
a strong and entirely
inscrutable face
and as the car swung
onto the highway
she thought

why stop there
why stop at all

a right turn at Progreso
past Chicxulub, San Benito, Telchec
and on into the night

a night which suddenly seems
to hold two kinds of possibilities

a safe return home
or a leap into the darkness

speeding up the coast
past ruins that weren’t even built
yet past monuments to gods
with names that encompassed
every vowel of  living breath
past the collapse, the inevitable
impending collapse
and on into the reborning

and she rolled down the window
as the night rushed in
with a cold, passionate force
ripping away all she once thought
fundamental
and as it invaded her breath

she knew
it had just begun

–Janet Phelan

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