Altar

BY LETICIA URIETA

You, with your back bent,
became the mountain pass.
We used your spine,
bent as it was towards your work,
and made your ridges into footholds,
climbing towards the other side.

You could not follow to the other side
just as now we bend towards your image
adorning you with flowers
in our dreams
la corona de la muerte
I see you asleep with the stars.

Asleep with the stars,
your body stone,
built on ancestral columns,
cracks rivering up your legs
in raised blue that marks you as
mother.

Mother, giver,
broken before time.
The in between must be a relief,
a crescent moon cradles your tired back
and you are out of reach.
We cannot claw you back down. 

We cannot claw you back
into our life’s blood,
pooling thick and brown
in the crags and fissures,
the pillar and bowl
of our family altar.

Our family alters futures
and relives pasts.
I wish for you a hummingbird,
a portal to return,
and yet no return
from guiding the sun home.

Your spine bent to relieve,
to usher us over and above you,
this life, the landslide that pulled you away.


Artwork: Eugenia Bathoriya