#197 Solstice Communion by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado

Voices bless a winter flower
of red and gold,
of chile and corn;
worn hands pass the first tamales
from the dented roaster.

Communion wine is New Mexican,
red as sangre.
Masa is the bread of life.

Days of solstice preparation,
corn hand-ground,
red chile simmering,
and pork roasting.

Grandmothers’ memories
soften hojas and whip masa,
soft as sugar.

Masa on a fan of hoja,
red chile and meat in center.
Tamales carefully folded.
Organic origami.

They rest on chips of juniper,
an offering to Our Lady,
to the coming of the light.

Bonnie Buckley Maldonado has resided in Silver City, New Mexico since 1959.  Her work appears in the Willa Award Winning Anthology, Montana Women Writers: Geography of the Heart. She was named Willa Finalist in Poetry by Women Writing the West for It’s Only Raven Laughing, Fifty Years in the Southwest, 2010, her fourth book of poetry. She is Silver City’s poet laureate.