By Michael Lynch
Storefront: Botanica San Miguel
You, San Martin de Porres
handpainted in Mexico,
forgive my heart its disguises
of fishnet and false
eyelash, its promises.
Forgive this neighborhood
its effluvia of wastewater
and dead pets, its lapses
and strangulations of light.
And you, six, holy Virgins
of Guadalupe identical
in your starburst coves
of plaster, let the near
park’s scrub of trees
overflower with cascades
of mist, allow the small
yards their frill of glossy
hostas, their common grasses.
Allow the morning its shape.
Birthday Across Parallel Universes
You were born in the Blood Month
just before the Festival of Moth-Light
with its dander of candles and ceremonial wigs.
It was raining. We named you Rain.
We named you Luck. The Luck Month
nipped at you with mint
breezes. Tenth day of the Tide
Week. Last spoke of the star-shaped
calendar. We plumped you in soft clothes.
Each silk pattern spun sacred.
The Longest Day, Anniversary of Eclipses,
Night’s Month, Night-God’s Month,
Mid-Harvest, Last Year of the Second Moon,
Sea Day, Feast of Evergreens, Week of Forgiveness,
Hearth-Hour, Coronation of Monuments. It was
then and too soon, moonless,
and we wept for the tiny feet thrust
from your mud red clot—waxy,
Your impossible fist punching
a passage straight out of our days.
He is just now crossing the threshold.
Your fingers prop a paperback
open in your lap, the wheeled table
flushed with asters
and larkspur, the long window
blue with sullen daylight.
He is crossing the threshold, haloed
in the glow of a film
illuminator. Your prayer-
thin gown is gauded in tiny stripes and asterisks
beneath it the pulp of your body seeded
with doubling pills of flesh.
You know each syllable before he mouths it,
can picture every night’s small collapses
The clipboard unwinds
its cruel scroll: blessed calligraph,
each word spelled disaster.
Michael Lynch lives and writes in Boston.