I am not without my curanderas,
my baby book’s first page rumpled
with a new silver dollar I wore home
from the hospital over my ruptured navel,
the dollar my first gift from my grandfather
on a page with a curl of my hair, the aged tape
over the dollar and the curl saved yellowed
like old skin, full moon and then
the soft arc of getting started.
Adelaide knows a curandera in the apartments
on Raitt, the woman her mother took her to
as a child, the one she took her baby to
when he ate paper off the ground
and wouldn’t stop crying. Adelaide says
little propellers were nailed right into
the palm tree trunks there, the little blue
propellers overlapping the pale pink ones
spinning in the slightest wind, keeping
the crows away from the rooster.
Before the curandera, her baby cried
when he saw into people’s eyes.
He didn’t like Adelaide’s father.
When Penny wouldn’t stop crying,
Maricela said her husband’s mother knew how.
She rolled a fresh chicken egg in crosses
all over the baby, on the baby’s head and belly,
cracked it into a glass, and put the toothpicks in,
a floating cross in a cylinder one finger wide,
and she prayed all night in a charismatic deliverance
of the mal de ojo. Where has she been, in the last two days?
Where has she been? A party, Maricela said.
Was someone not allowed to hold the baby?
The curandera contained the slick in the cylinder,
single digit radius, pi times the radius times the radius
times the height to hold a monster, finger digit
squared in the recipe. Always the base times
the height, even in three dimensions.
She taught Maricela how, and Maricela saw
spider webs in that yoke, and in the webs,
she saw eyes.
*Photo by David Ryan