Festa do Espirito Santo

Lara Gularte

Maria Silveira

studies the stained glass,

the lambs and saints.

She kneels and bows,

the host fusing to her tongue 

the holiness of her sex,

a scent of blossoms.


A day to be the heroine,

to be the Queen, St. Isabel.

Curls wound from rags cascade her back.

A mother-of-pearl crucifix from avo,

the long gown of satin and crocheted 

lace from her mother's garment bag.

Beneath her dress, a field of flowers.


She glides down the aisle and onto the street,

a halo of glittering crown and velvet cape.

Side maids and sign bearers,

little queens wrapped in frothy lace

with missing front teeth flank her.

Along the boulevard they float

like angels without bodies

who wear white dresses.


Sweet seller ladies of the Altar Society

offer malasadas, plump and sugared.

Women balance baskets of sweet bread

sway to the music of the brass band.

Then comes the sopas,

a feast for all, of mint flavored stew

with meat that falls easy from the bone.