For Dominica Rice-Cisneros


The señora swirls copal

to greet the four directions

then swings the burning resin back to you:

the fifth meridian

the length of your body

antenna connecting thirteen odd hells

and eight or nine heavens

give or take

you never were clear on the count

you just know

the heavens are outnumbered


The señora sweeps you with leaves

and presses wet tobacco

into the pulse points of some hot regret

your arms are out for better reception

part Our Father Who Art in Heaven

part Woman Who Shrugs emoji


You have to wonder

does she see the swear words

all the screaming and screwing

does she know you’re a quick draw

on the unkind laugh


The señora blows the leaves

out the door

stomps little plastic shoes

on packed earth

pulls your head to her chest

and heaves one more

commiserating sigh for you:

child of eight or nine heavens

thirteen or so hells

and the terrestrial plane

there’s just the one