• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 03

No, this is not Sierva Maria.

(after ‘Of Love and Other Demons’ by Gabriel Marquez)

Workmen dropped shovels and crossed themselves
when her remains were revealed. That dress -
but most of all the astonishing hair,
copper coloured, more than two metres long.
They whispered of hair growing in the grave.

Supernatural tales are the best, of course,
for reinforcing God, scaring children.
I’m very old now (you may think too old
to be true) - as a child I knew this girl
before she was exorcised - loved - to death.

If Sierva had her own demons
(not just those assigned to her, sotto voce,
in the chatter of indolent priests
in the limbo of shaded coffee bars),
I never saw any evidence.

I don’t recall her with lidded eyes,
smoking marijuana, defiant,
resigned to the mad dog in the market -
yet that’s the way she’s painted here.
Naturally with her famous hair unbound.


No, this is not Sierva Maria.

You might ask me about her parents
and how God allows such degenerates,
mere simulacrums of humanity,
to hold cards they would burn rather than play.
Perhaps it’s the chanting from the convent,

the corrupting heat, but more likely
apathy inherent to lack of need.
I cannot confirm. All I can tell you
is most representations are fluid
and sometimes it is right to fear water.