Saturday, January 28, 2023

Weekdays the angel sleeps under the old winding goat path
now paved over and named after the Virgin
who charmed divinity into flesh.

But on Sunday mornings between masses at Our Lady of Sorrows
she skates down the sidewalk to El Milagrito Cafe
where, for tips, the mariachis play
under the searching gaze of St. Emiliano Zapata,
the dead certainty of Blessed Pancho Villa.

She hangs her skates on a fireplug, and barefoot, slips in the door.
Amid the cafe's coffee aromas and steam from bowls of menudo,
she takes to dancing across shoulders of customers,
pausing to whisper in ears her messages of caution
and sudden consolation.

The man in the black hat engrossed in earphones,
newspaper and food does not hear.
But others, whose eyes sometimes lose their focus, might.
Maybe the bus boy with a ring in his ear,
the child peering through the hole he bit in his tortilla.
One hears. From the poster on the wall,
the accordion squeezing coyote
plays contrapuntal conjunto to the mariachis' melodies,
evoking from the angel's feet a polka beat.

When the mariachis rest, the angel dances out the door,
retrieves her skates and scoots back to church,
where, like the parabolic sower,
she will broadcast her seeds before she goes back to sleep
under St. Mary's tarred street.

November 7, 1993