(jugs that sing)
Aunt Ada big as a casa lived in Mexico
in the village of Tepeyacac
where she crawled on her knees
to take communion
at the altar of the Black Virgin
Our Lady of Guadalupe
descended from Tonantzín (blood eater)
mother of Quetzalcoati and Tezatlipoca
Gods known to me
from the cardboard copy of the codex
Aunt Ada gave me for my 6th birthday

Her tiny house crammed full of trinkets
Huichol masks with human hair and teeth
tarnished silver tree of life on the wall
a small cántaro from Tonalá
made of barro canelo an aromatic clay
women of the day chewed to get high

She poured water into the cántaro
filling the room with the scent of flowers
but didn't let me drink from it
said it makes little boys loco
took me on her lap to tell me
the Aztec version of Christ on the cross
how flowers spilled from the wound
when His body was pierced

Before God gave us His Only Begotten Son
before the first Seven Days of the Holy Bible
giant green bats drank the blood of children
and shat the world into existence

If you listen at night
you still hear the cries of children
as giant bats nibble their toes
in the caves of Sierra Guadalupe
where cannibals still hunger
and bats hang their heads in shame

My Aunt Ada comes to me in a dream
I am perched on her lap
afraid I will fall in when she laughs
she hands me the cántaro

I drink from it
taste the earth that sings ---
               Take eat...His body and blood
               which was given for thee...

Ke-e-eala, ke-e-eala, isoe-e-eiala, wando
wisloe esaeilala
ke-keala oae-e-eao.

    [This is a song they say an old woman recited in a sacred language and that is why we cannot explain it. The elders say it refers to all the suffering the earth was to endure in this world. Vide The Mythology of Mexico and Central America by John Bierhorst]

--- From Honoring the Stones
James O'Hern

©2004 Curbstone Press
321 Jackson St.
Willimantic CT 06226
Send us e-mail


Go Up     Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH