In the Museum of the Americas

These days, after work, he visits the Museum of the Americas. He wanders in the South American wing and looks at the figures amid artifacts in the glassed-in cases. Time collapses. Cortés is a few miles away; he has been with those who pushed back the Toltecs, Zapotecs, Mayans. There is no wristwatch on his arm, and he tells time by the use of twenty tons of stone. In a display case under glass are bones, the blade of a knife. He can believe that his people live on floating islands and that they farm corn, beans, peppers, tobacco. The air is clearer. He has a dark, young wife. His days are peaceful, and he knows what is expected. He’s taller, younger, stronger. Meaner. He has no children. He’s bronze colored from the sun, and he can see the polished walls of Tenochtitlán in the distance. No one has ever heard of a car. The clatter of the world, its weather and war and machinery—that’s all somewhere far off. He doesn’t hear the noise of it anymore.

Do you know where you are now?

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