In Buenos Aires, I am perched high
on the veranda of a small coffee bar.
A majestic cathedral
towers above me still, and I crane
my neck to survey its magnificent
spires. At the top, an alcove cradles
the sculpted body of a dead Jewish king.
His head, with a jeweled crown,
hangs in surrender,
while blood pours from His wounds.
Pigeons fly to and from the sculpture.
surround the alcove crucifixion.
Three are visible from my vantage
point alone. Below me, madhouse
traffic rages like the insane, final
moments of a soccer game. This city
sanctuary offers a cup of tranquility for
five minutes of my time.
I accept the invitation of respite from
the shadowed alcove. I close my eyes to imagine
the basilica—the stone, cold floor and the
glowing warmth of candles—dozens
of them. Sanctuary gold and jewels
sparkle there. A priest’s robe sways
across the room, incense fills the air, but the
candles command my attention.
They can be extinguished by a gust of
city wind, like my burden in an
amnesiac drop of blood. I wonder in awe
that I am sprung from those sculpted bloody
wounds in the shadowed alcove, and I
wonder what time it is.
©Bonnie Saul Wilks
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