Dia de los Muertos

Poetry, Published


 

Lupe kneels on the cool red-tiled patio floor

loosening orange petals, divining

a journey of flowers out her door, out of

her courtyard, out the front gate.

Debemos de guiara los espíritus.

The air warm, pungent. Smoke lingering

from last night’s mesquite fire. Lupe,

her husband, and their two young girls erect

an altar: marigolds, magenta cockscombs, bowl

of papaya and mango. Shelves with lit candles,

photographs, abuelitos, amigos. The children

line up small sugar skulls that sit like soldiers’

helmets, glistening with hallowed eyes

in the candlelight. Lupe

sets out a bowl of rich chocolate mole

made for the spirits, a glass

of water to quench their thirst. In my hands,

a silver-framed picture of my mother

dressed in her 40’s fitted blouse,

mid-calf length skirt and pumps. “Aquí,

ponla aquí,” Lupe says, opening up

a space on the altar. I hold the photo tight

for a moment, then set it in the place generously

made for her and me. I look up at her there

in the community of beautiful Oaxacan

faces. Light glints like a firefly

off the frame.

 

Published by Tell Us a Story in 2015  https://tellusastoryblog.com/

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