Diego de Montemayor

Robin Myers

ca. 1530–1611

If a man is capable of 
  massacre or overseeing
            massacre, which is
      the same, does this also
            make him capable
      of killing his own wife?
Put another way,
      if a man can seize
            a sword and stab his wife to
      death on learning she’d taken
            a lover during one of his imperial
      incursions into the sierra, massacring or
overseeing massacre,
      which is the same,
            disseminating smallpox,
      Catholicism, lashing the speakers
            of languages spoken in the
      lands he’d resolved to possess
in the name of the Spanish
      crown, well, fuck
            the hypotheticals,
      because he did it, all
            of it, and it’s his name
      I know, not his wife’s or anyone else’s
he massacred or raped
      or ordered massacred or raped or
            the children they
      birthed or their children who
            continued to birth, over time, so
      many children that they were
branded a nation
      and flung into diaspora and dust-settled down
            into generations of children
      of which I’m one,
            because that’s

Robin Myers is a poet, translator, essayist, and 2023 NEA Translation Fellow. Her latest translations include What Comes Back by Javier Peñalosa M., The Brush by Eliana Hernández-Pachón, and A Whale Is a Country by Isabel Zapata.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021


Louise Glück’s Late Style

The fabular turn in the poet’s last three books
Teju Cole

The Critic as Friend

The challenge of reading generously
Merve Emre

Rachel Cusk

The novelist on the “feminine non-state of non-being”
Merve Emre

You Might Also Like

Poem of the Week

For the Man on His Knees at The Eagle

Francisco Márquez

The Crisis of Asylum at Trump’s Border Wall

A symbol is being built for the sake of voters who have never been to the borderlands
Emily Gogolak


On "Roma"

A review of Alfonso Cuarón's film
Charles Taylor


New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.