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Tepeyollotli, heart of the mountain


That one who was the image of rain

no longer leaves trails through the jungle,

the gold discs of his eyes

no longer blink brightly.

He isn’t to be seen

in the morning sun floating on a log

down the Sacred Monkey River.

His solar pelt is a rug.

The heart of the mountain no longer wears

black-and-white markings on its chest

nor does the volute, cloud of speech that names things

scroll from his molten jaws.

His mute cry

booms out

my extinction.


Sad jaguar of the mythologies

who on devouring the sun devoured himself,

who on turning into the devouring Earth

devoured his own shadow in the night sky.

Orphan god of the Underworld

who, on following in the tracks of man,

was tricked by his masks

and fell into his snares.

Poor jaguar of the resplendent,

in his skin he carried death.


Before words

when, in the bowels of the night,

there was neither fowl

nor tree

nor fish

nor river

nor sun

in the night sky,

the jaguar



The jaguar that went away

is on its way,

the jaguar that came back

still hasn’t come

the jaguar of we two

within you

watches me from outside


Our bodies

two solar jaguars

faced off in the night

will end clawed up

in the total dawn

The Jaguar

George McWhirter, translation from
the Spanish written by Homero Aridjis

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