Pieta of the Mayans
The solstice, as predicted: chill wind; bitter sun;
the temperature falling like a glove
belies all the talk of the world dying of the heat.
Most will make it to the far side of winter,
no matter what the Mayans might claim:
the world soon coming to an end.
Compared to their workaday miracles:
toileting my mother, changing her, putting on lipstick,
it hardly matters the brutality that went on
atop Chichen Itza so long ago.
Joy to the World and all is forgiven,
we hear from the desperate, the sick-at-heart,
but what’s all such idle saying worth?
A song pitched too high, even for the cherubim?
A so-called virgin birth--the agony without
the earlier pleasure that might serve to redeem?
It’ll be cold enough in the grave with or without,
but how about we try a winter coat?
I know my mother is tired of all this incessant being.
When she taps her tongue to her palate just so,
gets the neurons to fire in proper sequence,
and those stubborn synapses to bridge,
she tells me, No good! No good!
Maybe the Mayans are keeping it
too hot in here, too much like the Yucatan:
I start to think a little cooling in the ground
could be just what the doctor ordered.
Es la vida, one of the señoras tells me
when I cry from this cold, cold thought I now regret thinking.
Que lastima, niño!--she pities me
my weakness, my child-like honesty,
but offers no substitute, no shoulder to cry upon,
no lap to cradle me my wounds.
This poem was written as part of the surprise ekphrastic Halloween challenge.
Alan Walowitz’s poems can be found on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College and St. John’s University. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing. Go to alanwalowitz.com for more poems and more information.
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