the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Elisabeth Frischauf

Church Business

Sevilla cathedral spreads her giant self to bask
in the high siesta sun.
I sit inside where shadows rest among colored glints skating through the windows.
Golden, beneath her starburst crown, the Virgin Mary looks her far-off ageless look.
Before her has knelt Christopher Columbus.

"Santa María, Seastar, spread your divine grace over me and my men, the sails of my ships and the sea."
He crossed himself,
looked up at her gleam and left to discover the new world
I live in.

A thick-waisted lady, her bouquet of fat yellow candles, poking out past her prow-like bosom, calls
between the quiet columns. "Linda. Aquí."
The velorio flickers centuries of Nuestra Madre, helpme, protectme rising in the incense heavy smoke. I fumble in
the dim, count out 80 tiny euro cents.

"NO, no, eighty cents only for last a half a day."
This candle handler sells me a nine day candle,
"Por diòs (God's deal),
Sòlo one euro fifty.

"Go to black Madonna. Grande yellow candle, is fortuna."
She pulls off the blue plastic sleeving, like skinning a fish.

Ay, business in church. With smiles and compliments, she
whispers, "beeziness," and leads
my soul to rest.



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