Poetry

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,
            brandishing
      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
      how
family
      works.

Robin Myers is a Mexico City–based poet and translator whose work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, and the Massachusetts Review, among other publications. She writes a monthly column on translation for Palette Poetry.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021

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