Semana de Santos and Salud de Paz
Robed in passion purple, the chosen
travel from distant Guatemalan villages
to walk on alfombras (floral carpets) –
leaves, rice, beans, quinoa,
colored sawdust –
offering of humility before Easter,
bear the burdens of saints,
brass band plays funeral march.
They wear scrubs –
green, purple, blue, calico
patterned or plain –
doctors, nurses, dentists
walk all day on shiny tile floors
made of green polished stone.
They come to Salud de Paz before Easter,
repair hernias, cleft lips, tired wombs
rotten teeth, itching skin
relive burden of tumor, bleeding,
listen to music from I-pods and marimbas.
They wear colorful wool cloth topped
with woven Huipils of batz’I luch (true design)
mothers, sisters carry babies on hips
wrapped in bright blankets, arrive
at Salud de Paz clinic in Toyota pickup beds,
by colorful local bus or walk in broken sandals
up steep ridges bearing the soil of poverty –
a parade of proud Mayan ancestry –
hold cell phones to their ears
purchase calling cards by the minute.
Lynn M. Hansen
Modesto Branch, CA