I dipped my fingers in the candle wax at church—
white votives shivered in red glass
at the foot of la Virgen’s gown—
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.
Copyright © 2012 Natalie Diaz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.