St. Death

St. Death

Santa Muerte is not enclosed
behind the grill
of a roadside shrine on the border

but like a descansos
might be
anywhere, everywhere, a corner

even in the automatic
thumbed cross
of gangsters’ mouths

or those who die
with chapped prayers on their lips
or those who curse

saying: fuck this
or those tethered
to the morphine drip

a calavera
printed on a scarf, socks
a sugar cookie

I think of you—
and you—and you
the increasing crew

of my beloved
half-remembered dead
and lean on my cane

on the snowy path
in the Chiricahuas
and think about nothing but

lichen on rock
and time’s lovely
gnarled driftwood.

***

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Patagonia, AZ

16 thoughts on “St. Death

  1. These words speak to me:

    I think of you—
    and you—and you
    the increasing crew

    of my beloved
    half-remembered dead

    They are, indeed, increasing.

  2. Dear Miriam,

    I’m sorry to hear about your father. As far as I can tell,nothing makes better, much less any words I might offer. But I send my sympathy and my cariño.

    And this poem is a fine gift to the world in his name. It speaks to me of the landscape here, the desperate people who pass through, those who light candles to Santa Muerte.

    • Hi Donna–I was in remote corners of Arizona much of X-mas week–a landscape my dad taught me to love when I was a child/young teenager. I was writing about exactly what you describe, and uncannily it fits much of my family history in a very different part of the world–Ukrainian borderlands which was full of smugglers (of both people and contraband) and gangsterism–but that is another poem.
      love,
      Mir

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