Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez            

Santuario de Guadalupe
Santa Fe, New Mexico, est. 1795 oldest church and shrine dedicated to Our Virgin Guadalupe

through a thick sky
heavy with the promise of regret
the flower stems bend
at their waist, green knees
snap between the fingers
of ink-stained boys, who are
men growing into their skin;
they have been old
their whole lives

the walls of the santuario quivers
at the approach of their
swaggering bravado
and the roses shudder
to think their end is nigh
I would like to hope
la Virgen has forgiven
their future transgressions

I shield them from nothing,
as their teacher, their mentor;
they ride their youth like
lightning. I herd them
like wild horses and they
stamp their hooves to create
thunder in the ground

for all of my goading,
and perpetual mothering
they reward me with slices
of their carnivorous smiles,
an army of lowered eyes

a moment of respect
it is all
I can hope for

these beautiful boys
who own their girls
who drive their
mothers to madness
roaming fatherless figures

And the girls ? who
toss their hair like
nervous mares and
smile like the sun
that breaks apart
the regrettable sky

they receive their
offering like a
basket of gold

as if Samson himself
laid the length of his
hair across their feet

a head full of flaming
petals, decapitated ?
a green torso cast
earthward soon to
become one with
the dirt again

the rooted body
of a marble saint
looks on but
says nothing
at such desecration,

her womb empty
for some time now ?
a sonless mother

Run hard against
the wind I want
to cry out to
them ? young women,
turn your backs on
such acts of love ?
their hearts are
the last drop of
wine from a
cheap plastic cup

you will shred your
slender fingers upon
their thorns

These boys want
to disown your body,
make a shallow grave of you

but even I cannot
look away
from their young
dark eyes

how they ripple
over the rose
they shuffle their feet
extend their arms,
heads scuffing the
stone floor
dull tattoos claim

one street corner
or another

they gift death, the
stiff bodies of roses
alert in their palms,
bursting red blossoms
yellow tight buds
perfumed and pink
and weightless petals

the stems ooze
white milk from
their ripped-out necks

I receive their offering,
and take their roses
into me