Chichen Itza, 2000
by Jan Chronister

We stay just outside the site
in a cottage used by
research teams long ago,
hammock hooks still on walls.
Dinner is served outside
on the hacienda porch.

In the morning
we enter through
a private gate.
For half a day
we are alone
with antiquity.

At El Caracol,
I sit on a bench
while my daughter
and fiancé explore.
I watch clouds pass
the observatory dome,
sense the timelessness
Maya astronomers must have felt
as they charted planets and stars.

About halfway in
crowds from tour busses meet us.
We wait our turn to climb
El Castillo, gaze in awe
at the 360° view
from the top.

It was a pre-nuptial trip,
a compatibility test.
Two decades pass,
we still smile.

PHOTO: El Castillo (pyramid of Kukulcán) in Chichén Itzá (Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico) by Daniel Schwen (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The trip to Chichen Itza will always be a highlight of my life. I feel so fortunate to have visited when the pyramid could still be climbed, inside and out. As a student of Mayan culture, it was on my “bucket list.” As a poet, it was an experience I will never forget. In 2019 I published a micro-chapbook with Origami Poems titled Before They Closed the Temple at Kukulkan. I wrote “Chichen Itza” specifically for this Silver Birch Press prompt.

Chronister 1 copy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Jan Chronister is a retired English teacher who now spends her time on her flower gardens and poetry. She also helps fellow poets edit and publish their work. Jan has authored two full-length poetry collections and six chapbooks. Find more about Jan at