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Sunday, May 06, 2018


by Jacqueline Jules 

Evidence for the largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in the Americas— and likely in world history—has been discovered on Peru's northern coast, archaeologists tell National Geographic. More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event that took place some 550 years ago on a wind-swept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of what was then the sprawling capital of the Chimú Empire. —Kristin Romey, National Geographic, April 26, 2018. Photograph by Gabriel Prieto.

The remains of children and llamas in Peru
reminds me of Abraham, how he didn’t argue
for Isaac the way he did for Sodom and Gomorrah,
how he acquiesced, traveling three days as commanded,
building an altar, binding his son.  Imagine
Isaac’s terrified eyes until an angel appears
with new instructions.

Which brings me back to the bodies in Peru,
breastbones bent to extract 140 hearts
offered to appease an angry god, demanding
what’s most precious as ultimate bribe.

Like a folktale reinvented around the globe,
sacrifice is not confined to geographic region.
From ancient times, somehow humans have believed
we have to kill to demonstrate devotion.

When the angel told Abraham to offer a ram instead,
it was more than a revelation, it was a weaning.
Spiritually, we were babies, still sucking
on our first source of sustenance.

Think of how we despaired later on,
when the Temple was destroyed and
we were told we couldn’t burn animals
anymore. What can we put on the altar now?
We cried. How do we please now?

The answer still seems to baffle us.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including TheNewVerse.News, The Rising Phoenix Review, What Rough Beast, Public Pool, and Gargoyle.