1511 c/o Evar Globo

Guerrero replies to Aguilar: a first draft

Brother Aguilar,

So, you have asked me to leave. I am married and I have three infants. I hear only that Cortés is destroying beautiful cities, only massacres. I can not leave here, a beautiful place, sound when it has finished echoing and so on. And this is the place of the red wood. You know this. Imagine: I will climb a hill and stand and look out and feel only as if my wings had folded back into me. A place.

Brother, I know you also wake and feel like you are pinned, held, an axe raised above, your head pushed back. We are the only ones, yes. We cannot just leave. Tonight I watched my wife plait a basket from a dead wolf’s hair. I made a quiet howl. She was unmoved.

I miss olive oil, that at least. A joke: I tried to describe rice pudding to my wife. I miss weather, artichokes, yes, thistles, yes.
They look on me as a gentleman here, and a captain in the time of the war. So, still. I hear only of dead infants. Does Cortés know they all call her ‘The Fucked One’, his woman? I am sorry

So my children must be healthy, that is all. You understand if I make a quiet noise while I write that. If they are beautiful. I must only help my children. If they are not beautiful then I will gladly tumble down stairs forever, I would gladly fall and be destroyed. It is a time of war, after all. Our war. We can not leave.
My face is tattoo’d and my ears are pierced. You would not want me. What would the Spaniards find to say? What we have brought. So how could we leave?

I have wondered: how did you feel when we arrived? Those weeks of drifting. I want to laugh but only shiver and then try to spit. That wreck. Two weeks and last emerging to those spears. And so how could we leave? So. God blesses you always. Go and be powerful. Please. Pray and be powerful and grow tall and sprout antlers. You could not dilute a forest. Go but I ask of you: do not require me to leave. I am a warrior. I am a slave. Go.
Go and God’s blessing be with you.

How many of us are dead? I only barely know. So. Wouldn’t you like to drown? To have drowned perhaps I mean. Aren’t we being squashed to death by boulders? I mean this generously. How could we arrive here and expect not to die? My mind is ants carrying the bodies of their comrades, again and again. Brother, listen: I hear that Cortés is a pale and sickly child. I can not fight for that. These men I am with are an unbreakable building, as true as a simmering pot. I will stay. I will not fight for that child. And that is all.


As ever,