My mother dared not touch me when I cried.
She kept me in a chest of drawers.
Each morning she went to the wasteland
for wood.
I appeared to her
diminutive and wrapped in stone.
Looking on my dark face,
she took me home
once more,
put me in the cupboard
with her things.

Each time the priests
completed my shrine, daddy shook
the mountains by their roots.
Once two brothers loved the same woman,
a priest and a politician.
Forced to choose, her beauty sowed
the seed of fratricide.
She might have been the bishop’s whore
or baked his bread
in exile.

Juana, Isabella, Marguerite, where are you now?
Who has set the cross that divides the barrios?

The Queen wears radiant robes of gold,
the little baby boy securely sleeps.

Poet, your mother wanted you to be strong.
Your grandmother took you to the doctor
who removed your eyes
and sewed them in again
so you might learn
to see
like other boys.

She listens to our stories, the poor and the maimed.
In her name, are perpetual indulgences for all.
The children fill soda bottles with holy water
I fall to my knees and cry, I do not love you.
I don’t love you any more at all!

Serenity, you are the black Virgin, apparent understanding and abiding.
I have looked in all the libraries and forests for your tale. I have sensed,
Nazim, the horror and the bliss of holy words; then reflected, Athena,
your keepers did not permit you yourself to write or read the scripts.

Every eight years, on the 2nd of August, Venus appears
(Serpiente envuelta en plumas)
in the same position
It is the feast day of the Queens of Costa Rica and Guatemala.

The daykeeper is mother-father of the people
First in the lineages, obsidian mirror, Tohil.

Against a black felt,
the glass cases display
small votive figures
in rows and columns
of similar manufacture
but Mayan appearance.

The face in the reflection is my face as I imagine it
with eyes closed, caught in prayer.

Donald Wellman | Mudlark No. 34
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