Coatlicue and How She Became the Virgin

I have not opened your text,
have no words yet to lift the corners
of lines that could add

xxxxxxxto the scroll,
xxxxxxxyour story, Coatlicue, the Santa Maria Novella.

Met your robes as a child,
your cape so stiff,
I thought you much too far for me

xxxxxxxto understand. A blue robe wide
xxxxxxxas a valley under clear sky.

Your hands touch the prayer and another thought
tighter than the pearls around your neck.
Fancy your neck does not bend with that globe

xxxxxxxon your crown. Your toes know that mystery
xxxxxxxof infinite space between your body and the surface of the chalice.
Maria: plural of mare,
Latin for seas. Mar, me marea.
The ocean seas me. The shadows on the moon,

xxxxxxxthought seas:
xxxxxxxmaria are the lunar oceans.

As a girl, I floated en el mar on a tube,
my mother holding it so I would not float off.
Salt water stung our skin, healed our cuts,

xxxxxxxrushed us back to shore. Same chemical solution
xxxxxxxin all mothers who hold and rock children.

If your name is an accident of etymology,
I am mariada, dizzy with the shadows of your face,
with the moon afloat in circles under your feet.

xxxxxxxBabies point to the moon
xxxxxxxand we know they say ma and try to grasp it.

Your toes resist Earth’s rock bottom;
your robes formed from a crush
of lapis lazuli: ultramarine.

xxxxxxxAs if the molten earth knew to lock a glint of ocean
xxxxxxxbetween its ancient, rugged lips

so we could ask then: are you a symbol,
a woman, or both? Are you a good piece
of what is woman or all the pieces that make women?

Or constructor?