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By day, Senorita
polishes her bone-silver against her rosary beads
deep-shoveled among market stalls in La Cruz.

Fruit of fingers, thumbs, and blackened
fly tongues spill from her lace-
laden basket. Ladinos of El Salvador
genuflect with sweat-oiled wrists
and feet, throw cempazuchiles and
barro de obispo upon her pilgrimage path.

By night,
she shuffles past la Casa Presidencial
and scales earth rungs twisted
to Puerta del Diablo.
Unmasking her offering plate,
La Huesuda nibbles on coffin cakes,
pan de muerto, and swills cups of atole
until sated. This leftover body-meal
of resistance is tossed from the slabs,
lands at the feet of the current Messiah.

Cicadas chorus and the sun crosses.
Lady Death turns, salutes her
congregation: poverty, neglect,
and silence--then parades to her crypt.

Carol Parris Krauss's work has appeared or is forthcoming in various publications, including Amarillo Bay, Red River Review, Niederngasse, burningword, Wilmington Review, Wild Violet, RockyMountainReader, Poetic Voices, and Dead Mule.

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