by Juan Morales
In the wreckage of mission accomplished,
Pizarro, Almagro, and other leaders sorted
gold and silver into equal shares.
Seated, they became children
devouring unknown delicacies
described only by eccentric adults.
They recalled how hopeless steps
guided them through vacant stomachs
and cracked lips to victory.
Their gambles paying off.
They gorged on exaggerated chunks
stuck between gnashing, stumbled
fits of laughter. The men counted jewels twice
and debated plundered relics
from palaces and shrines.
They pre-enacted a president
posturing behind a podium on an aircraft carrier,
dark suit and blood red tie.
He’s posed with thumbs-up in front of
the “Mission Accomplished” banner
on a stars and stripes backdrop
with flag-draped coffins piling
out of view and stacks of
condolence letters to stamp.
We jeered the President,
but in the case of conquistadors,
no one snapped the ironic picture
of men snaking spoils
into hidden pockets whenever comrades
blinked. They embraced, ready
to dream of being old, rich men because
that’s what they were supposed to do.