by Stan Long
The lovely lady, Xochipilli, waiting for the game of tlachtli to finish, also awaited the head of her favorite hipball player, Cruso Mendiez, the Spanish captive. Captain of his team, the game had been rigged for him and his fellow captive soldiers to lose and now it was over, the brutal business of beheading the losers was taking place, something Xochipilli had impatiently been waiting for.
Her lover Cruso was a brave soul who would face death with great dignity and she would be done the favor of signaling his end and the crowd would roar approval. The time came, the court was covered in gore, some of the Aztec players had already substituted a head for the rubber ball and were vigorously bouncing it from hip to hip and practicing shots on goal, when Cruso, naked except for the formal loincloth that denoted him as captain, stepped up to his handlers.
With two hands he blew a kiss in Xochipilli’s direction then kneeled before his executioner. Bloodied from head to toe, his executioner waited for Xochipilli’s handkerchief to fall and then, with one swipe from his black obsidian blade, severed Cruso’s head. It had no sooner thudded into the sand when a runner fetched it to Xochipilli.
She made a knot of its black hair and kissed its lips to stop the gibbering that tried to spell her name, then pried apart its lids to see, if she could see herself therein. And stroking it, tarred her hands with stroking, and let it roll, and licked her fingers clean, there in the ball court of the sun.
Stan Long lives in Toronto, Canada. He has produced two chapbooks: The Georgian Bay Suite & Eros in Ithaca – “two very disparate works.” His poems and fictions have appeared in both print and online/ezines in Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and the USA. He loves to write, mostly in solitude.