Church in Baja
After crossing the border
and getting beyond Tijuana
the road narrowed. The road opened.
Wide to the imagination, exotic
reality withstood the
test of time. Timeless poverty,
endless grace — the tiny village
built on brown dusty land.
Some huts had four walls —
all walls punched out of cardboard
reinforced with scraps of metal, old
patched tires, rolls of barbed wire —
roofs of rusted tin wobbling
atop those rickety frames.
Eyes up. From the desperate flatness
the site of a hill
all tufted with sweet grasses
and sagebrush abloom, a smooth
dirt road leading up, up, out
of the sad village to the smallest church
made of white stucco with no flaws,
a simple solid cross set
onto faded-red tile roof with no holes;
Narrow swept entry with no door
opened onto a hard dirt floor
with room for 30 knees kneeling
closely side-by-side, no benches
facing the adored altar — a small
wood table adorned with delicate
hand-laced cloth, and a bowl
of golden crockery holding water
warmed by the day.
Into the scrubbed stucco wall
an alcove was carved, where
a mosaic candle flickered — mottling
Mary's bleeding son — no stained
glass windows to enhance the passion,
MLydiaM ~ June 2012
Written for Critique and Craft—Where in the World Am I: Place and Setting in Poetry— at dVerse Poets.