She brews fruit on open flame, calling souls of vanished loved ones; gurgling marigolds and cockscomb fill a dark room’s altar, copal incense burning sweet and thick encasing the air. Lady of the dead with her jaw gaping, swallows the stars of day, leaving flickering carved out eyes. She thumps across the sidewalk, a bottle of magic tucked beneath her robes, promising green meadows for respite, and days of tempered sunshine. From a roof’s gutter an owl watches, twitching, caught by her presence.
La Catrina rests
bloody, crooked hands on aged
bones in endless sleep
‘Meek-teka-see-wahdl’ or ‘Meek-teka-kee-wadl’, in Aztec mythology she guards over the bones of the dead.