#135 El Santuario de Chimayo by Dorothy Brooks

A crunched metallic red Coke can
skuttles across the dusty village,
kicks back a starburst
of the sun.  In the square,
the old adobe church
is where anything can happen—the troubled
and the sick know this—pray something will.

Beyond a row of cypress
a young woman lurches towards the doors
on her knees—her dark hair flowing
over an infant she clutches to her—
too pale next to her bronze skin.
Its head wobbles, its bleat lifts into puffy clouds.

Inside,the wall is plastered
with braces, pleas and promises. She sifts
the miracle mud through her thumb and forefinger –
pats it on her baby’s brow:  forgets
her scraped and bleeding knees.

*Previously published in Washington Square Review, 2009. Some revisions made

Dorothy Brooks of East Lansing, Michigan, taught on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, NM, seven years between 1981-1998, for UNM’s Multicultural Teacher Education/Farmington program, and at Zuni Pueblo.  Her chapbook, Swamp Baby (Finishing Line Press), comes out in August.  Her poems are widely published in literary journals.


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