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Apotheosis of Kiss

I dipped my fingers in the candle wax at church—

white votives shivered in red glass

at the foot of la Virgen’s gown—

glowing green-gold.

The fever was fast—

my body ablaze,

I pulled back.

Pale silk curved on each fingertip—

peeling it away was like small gasps.

The candles flickered—

open mouths begging.

Heretics banged at the double door.

Charismatics paraded the aisles,

twirling tapers, flinging Sunday hats.

The Rapture came and went, left

me, the choir’s bright robes,

collection baskets like broken tambourines—

What poverty, to never know,

to never slide over the lip of a candle

toward flame—raving to touch

her bare brown toes.

from When My Brother Was an AztecFind it in the library

Copyright © 2012 Natalie Diaz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Natalie Diaz Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.