We Are Millions

translated by Wendy Call & Mikeas Sánchez
Three disheveled electronic tablets laying on a bed of soil. The third is turned face down
The Weapon is Sharing (This Machine Kills Fascists), by Cannupa Hanska Luger, ceramic, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Zoque and Spanish originals of this poem appear in Mikeas Sánchez’s book Jujtzye tä wäpä tzamapänh’ajä / Cómo ser un buen salvaje Editorial Universidad de Guadalajara, 2019). 


We Are Millions

Come to my land,
install your machines,
poison the rivers our livestock drink,
contaminate the aquifers,
shove garbage into the spring
and God’s face.
Trick my brothers,
offer them bread and greed,
the pleasures of the flesh,
love auctioned to the highest bidder.
Bribe my sisters,
promise them power and money,
tell them about the wonders
of the First World.

Come to my land,
install your peace-destroying
show us pain and despair,
bullet wounds.
We are millions
and we are unafraid.



Minä’ äjn’ najsomo,
netya’ mij’ nhtonh’kutyam,
kakutziya’ä  te’nä’ tyonh’yajpapä waka’sistam,
yajk’ ka’e’ aya’ä  te’ jojpajktam,
tänh’äyä putzi mutpamä te’ nä,
mutpamä ntä’ Nkomi’is nhwyränhk nä’.
Anhkumakäya’ä äjn atzi’ram,
tzapdziya’ä te’ tuminh,
sasatyampä nhkirawa’yomo’ram,
te’ sudkuy muspapä ntä’ juyä’.
Anhku’makäya’ä äjn’ nzätzä’ram,
tzaptziya’ä kowina’ajkuy,
tzajmaya’ä jujtzere’ wäpyä
te’ nhkirawa’ijtkuy.

Minä’ äjn’ najsomo,
nijpya’ä mij ntänh’kutyam
Ntä’ isanhdziramä’ te’ toya, te yajxu’ijtkuy,
te’ tujkuyis pyämi’.
jinh’mi’ natztame’


Somos Millones

Ven a mi tierra,
instala tus máquinas,
envenena los ríos que bebe el ganado,
contamina los manantiales,
llena de podredumbre el ojo de agua
y el ojo de Dios.
Engaña a mis hermanos,
ofréceles el pan y la codicia,
los placeres de la carne,
el amor que se oferta al mejor postor.
Soborna a mis hermanas,
promételes poder y riqueza,
háblales de las maravillas
del Primer Mundo.

Ven a mi tierra,
Instala tus máquinas aniquiladoras
de ternura,
muéstranos el dolor y la desesperanza,
el impacto de las balas.
Somos millones
y no te tenemos miedo.

Mikeas Sánchez is the author of How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems (2023) and six collections of bilingual Zoque-Spanish poems. One of the most important poets of the Indigenous Americas, she was the first woman to publish a book of poetry in her language, Zoque. She lives in Ajway, Chiapas.

Wendy Call is author of the award-winning nonfiction book No Word for Welcome, co-editor of the anthologies Telling True Stories and Best Literary Translations, and translator of three books of poetry by Indigenous Mexican women. She lives in Seattle, on Duwamish land, and in Oaxaca, Mexico, on Mixtec and Zapotec land.