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After the Corpus Christi Feast Day procession.

The bonfires and wild prayers died out, tall stately candles drifted away, a thousand guitars dried up, and masks of various saints: back to their boxes. No musicians stayed their ground; and dancers with straight spines, who had conquered the bloody god, themselves to a body finally surrendered. The surrounding hills by increments went black and reflected no more sounds. Behind one of the hills from its hole in the ground, a curious jerboa, like a jack-in-the-box, popped out: cocksure, fearless of owls or red snakes - temerariousness galore! The sand was cool, the outlook immense.

Leading a burro, almost a pet, by a rich-feeling thong, came one walking - ancestral trail through the hills - his long poncho almost a vestment: reciting a sad Spanish ballad about star-crossed lovers (ballad of a thousand durable stanzas). His burro was well-fed, well-combed, and his poncho bright-colored, geometric, clean. Among the man's straight white teeth, glittered three gold teeth, and his manicured nails were evenly shaped. He might have been heading to his wedding tomorrow, or was he simply exercising his burro?

A hillside of tall cacti with upraised arms resembled a ribcage. The man was not made lonely by the evaporation of all the guitars, or the silencing of the stamping heels, nor did he sorrow for some moon that had hung huge as the earth before it rolled down: buried. He was only a gentleman leading his burro into the night, perhaps to a watering place, a young gentleman with a professionally trimmed black moustache, and a colorful poncho, almost a vestment.

MIKE BIEHL has published his poems in Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion, Interim, Creeping Bent, and The Graham House Review. He resides in San Francisco.

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Author:Biehl, Michael
Date:Mar 22, 1995
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