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.





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.

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