Martha Rhodes
As They Had Died

From the rim of a Mayan pit

I looked for the remains of the sacrificed,

wanting to see them as they had died,

half strangled and stabbed, left

to claw for the top of the stack,

for air.


And their screeching's what

aroused me; their necks—

smooth as mine, aroused me—

young girls, even babies,

barely tooth'd, each daughter

asleep between parents,

sweetly asleep, only

seconds away from her father

discovering how wonderfully,

how easily, he might pull his girl

from her mother's folds;


it's just at that moment my armies

arrive, house by house,

thrusting the girls,

fresh from their mamas,

into my carts,

centuries of girls,

naked and golden.

Found In Volume 26, No. 06
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  • Martha Rhodes
Martha Rhodes
About the Author

Martha Rhodes' poems have been published in a variety of journals including AgniColumbiaFenceNew England ReviewPleiadesPloughsharesTriQuarterly, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, and Rhodes. Her work has been anthologized widely, appearing in Agni 30 YearsExtraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American WomenThe New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology, and The KGB Bar Book of Poetry, among others.