Issue Twelve - March 2008

Nuestra Senora de la Salud

By JoEllen Moldoff

She is becoming
more beautiful each day
like ripening fruit.
The yellows, oranges, 
terra cotta hues of Mexico 
infuse her blood.

In Patzcuaro 
we make a pilgrimage to the Basilica
to pray for blessings from Nuestra Senora de la Salud.

In the dark womb of the church,
at the altar, glowing 
from within the glass shrine,

the Blessed Mother.

Behind the altar hundreds of milagros,
pinned on a red velvet cloth
by Purhepecha Indians, petition 

Salus Informorum, Healer of the Sick, 
whose miracles came to light
five centuries ago.

My friend’s eyes blaze like obsidian
under the brim of her hat.

We light candles.

Later in the casa, 
her face aglow in the bronze sunset,
she bares her head
fuzzed with new hair.

Our voices wrap tightly 
around this moment,
we sip tea.

©2008 JoEllen Moldoff