via dolorosa

Gracias a la vida

each viernes santo
we would travel
somberly dressed
to view the stations
of the cross, la via
dolorosa, no radio music
to be played all day
and fish yet one more time
my mother’s escabeche
carefully prepared
at start of lent
and soaked in vinegar
and brine for 40 days
cuaresma fish

and all the current lies
told by padre Ramón
who heard confessions in a chair
and told the young muchachas
in his lap
to go and sin no more
and pray tres padres nuestros
while he fondled their young
buttocks with one hand
and signed the cross
with the other

domingo de pascua
the gringos wore their hats
and fancy new zapatos
to their mass
we trooped in veils
no easter bunny
and no eggs
just confesión
y comunión
mi papi touched me, Padre
“Hija, it’s your fault,
pray for the pardon
of your sinful soul”

and dios in heaven
and the good señoras
in their bosoms full of
talking about Ignacio
who was sleeping with his
the blessings of the
pascua florida

the via dolorosa
of niñas taught
to hold hymens for pesos
to use the lure
of sex
to trap a good
marido who could pay
for camarones al ajillo
or langosta or filet
mignon en los domingos
via dolorosa

what would the man
crucified long ago
have thought
of his new churches
and their flowers
and their songs

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