To Tezcatlipoca

David Bowles
3 min readJun 9, 2024

The eighteenth cuicatl in Songs of the Lords of Anahuac, my English translation of the codex Romances de los señores de la Nueva España. It is headed with a note in Spanish from the compiler: “a lo divino gentílico” — “to the pagan divinity.”¹

You just go and help others.
If that is so, the Giver of Life
feels compassion.
Is it true?
Or is it false?
How does he respond?
We must remain
anguished of heart.

To how many
does he tell the truth?
To how many lies?
The Giver of Life
is jealous, never content.
We must remain
anguished of heart.

Giver of Life,
I am anguished.
Never here, then.
I guess I can never delight
in the presence of others.

You just shake them out
like beloved treasures.
They flow from you,
your riches, Giver of Life —
The popcorn flowers
and funeral tree blooms.²
I yearn for them,
and I am anguished.



David Bowles

A Mexican American author & translator from South Texas. Teaches literature & Nahuatl at UTRGV. President of the Texas Institute of Letters.