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Keep your face to the sunshine
and shadows will fall behind you. -- Walt Whitman

Guadalupe of the Cupboard by Clare McCotter

Altar piece in North Denver thirty five years
without censure
then a new governor
slapped her in the cooler
for distracting hearts and minds
from the sacred sublime.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
quarantined with mops and brushes
has done more solitary than Steve McQueen.

Finding in the soft syncresis of her mestiza face
something found no other place
the threshers of golden grains
Azteca horse breakers
silver weavers
black clay shapers
called her Madre
since she jaded the Altiplano’s winter skirt
with quetzal song and dahlias for Juan Diego.

Steady in azure upper arm tattoos
swinging from mirrors in battered Nissans
she’s been with Los Mojados
every step of the way
from the border
jumped at Tijuana
to a forty seven foot mural
banged up behind studs and laths
and milk white plaster in a Coloradan chapel.

Talking straight the head honcho in the parish
told them it was all about the boy
the broad in blue had to walk
leaving the cross
a cameo square in snow
casting no shadow
on his own stone throne.
While Jesús sore and alone in night’s red heart
stooping slips a note under her door.

The Linnets Wings