I have not opened your text,
have no words yet to lift the corners
of lines that could add
to the scroll,
your story, Coatlicue, the Santa Maria Novella.
Met your robes as a child,
your cape so stiff,
I thought you much too far for me
to understand. A blue robe wide
as 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
on your crown. Your toes know that mystery
of 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,
maria 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,
rushed us back to shore. Same chemical solution
in 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.
Babies point to the moon
and 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.
As if the molten earth knew to lock a glint of ocean
between 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?