• Kevin O'Keefe

Church ruins, Guatemala (poem)

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Take in the host.

Let the wafer peel off the roof

of your dry mouth.

Let it disintegrate

the way fish food becomes cloudy water.


Take in the deep breath of the host

take in her sweet Latina breeze -

begonias, hibiscus, bougainvillea.


Walk through the ruins,

take in the candles,

illuminating the sapodilla trees,

take in their breadth,

stay there to let their arms embrace you,

stay there til your back turns to bark.


Inhale the cascading fountains,

silver coins that shimmer at the bottom,

thrown by those hoping for some grace

from the Mother of the ruins.


Take in the gold encrusted altar.

Take in her eyebrows - black tildas.

Take what you can from this place.


Part her legs, as if for a cello

then put your mouth

over her sex,

let her bathe you.

Feel the brown stones under your knees

polished smooth by sandals of nuns.

Listen to the silvadors;

they break the whisper of night

whistling beyond the crumbling walls.


Before the quake there was a tunnel to the edge of town. A Guatlemalan boy found the entrance just beyond the chicle grove.

It entered the convent below the sacristy.

There he would experience God nightly,

being taken in by the plantation owner's daughter.


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