Tikal

I stand high above the plaza,

arms outstretched,

triumphant after my slow and careful ascent

up the steep ladder-like steps

to the top of the pyramid

where ancient priests

unsheathed their obsidian knives,

the black blades begging for blood.

Height begets power.

I begin to feel kingship,

feel for my plumed crown.

Looking down on the plaza

I see the ceremony of architecture,

space, upright stele and high stepped forms,

roof combs,

rain softened relief.

This is the Jaguar Pyramid.

I wear the jaguar cloak and quetzal plumes,

inhale incense of copal.

Looking down on the plaza,

I see the crowds looking up,

not in fear or faith, but wonder

at the tall noble towers

and the impulse of their vanished lords.

I am one of them,

one of the time travelers.

I relinquish my plumes.

We are explorers from another dimension

clambering over these stones,

astonished by the implicit authority

of high stepped towers,

huge carved stones

and their austere beauty.

I return to my time.

Climbing down is harder than going up.

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