Miserere by Allegri
Mercedes Sosa and Misa Criolla;
the wind outside frigid, blustery.
Pan-pipes bring the Andes into my
The front door rattles.
Good Friday is roaming outside
Once, when young, the poultry farm shriekings
on Good Friday morning
were the howling ghosts rising up from their graves.
At my First Communion breakfast,
I vomited saveloy and raspberry fizz-
why wasn’t it the body and blood
of little Baby Jesus?
The hymn they sang made me sick inside,
it was so beautiful,
and life so transitory,
the light on our mothers’ faces
supernatural- a chrism.
Though, now I understand,
it was ordinary motherlove,
not the Transubstantiation.
Misa Criolla fills me with the same fearful beauty-
reminds me of the six-inch spikes on the grille
that we saw my sister’s best friend behind
when she became a Carmelite.
Beauty and cruelty,
compassion and ugliness,
mixed together to create una mescla,
a misa criolla!
A savage orthodoxy.