Father Pipe resisted the urge to close his eyes as he threw up a silent prayer and randomly poked his hand into the dark recesses of the broken motor. Poncho, Juancho, Flaco, he had grown up alongside these boys, but never shared their young boys’ interest in taking things apart and putting them together to see how they worked. Even then, he knew that it would never tell him why things worked, which seemed to him a far more important question.
On the other hand, Poncho, Juancho, Flaco and the other fishermen had been taking things apart and putting them together, out of necessity now, rather than boyish curiosity, for generations. They had in those generations, cultivated the kind of religious suspicion that might have served their native ancestors well in the face of zealous missionaries. So, as much as they loved him as a brother, they knew Father Pipe was a fool to think that Jesus had anything to do with the weather or the catch. They knew the sea had a mind of its own, that the sea, if anything, was god unto itself.
So they waited patiently while he splashed their boats with his Holy Water and listened politely as he praised Jesus loudly over the roar of the resurrected boat engine, but when he retreated triumphantly into Santa Clara’s Restaurant, they agreed amongst themselves that while Father Pipe didn’t know much about god, he sure could fix a Yamaha.
There was this woman. Her name was Ginger. She liked to walk in the rain. It didn’t matter how hard the downpour or how miserable the drizzle, step after step, she walked, occasionally glancing up to catch a few drops on her face. People would line up on the sides of the street under the shelter of awnings and deep doorways and call out to her, “Get out the rain! It’s bad for you!” But she kept on walking. Over time, her hair lost its colour, draped to her shoulders and finally washed away. Her posture slouched. She began to lose weight. The people under the shelter of their umbrellas were concerned about how unwell she looked, how soggy in the rain, and they called out to her, “Get out of the rain! You should go some place warm, like Florida. Some place you can lay out and bake in the sun.” But she ignored them and kept on walking, slouching a little more every day, pausing now and again to squint at the deep gray clouds. Then one day, when the Ginger-bread Woman had walked too long in the rain, she dissolved entirely away.
She said, “I believe,” and too eagerly, I said, “I believe you,” but it was only in the resulting, regrettable silence, that I began to understand what Esperanza had really meant.
I am walking on the moon again. Funny, how I always end up here, writing on the stars, all white and shiny and falling like snowflakes with my poems on them. Falling into the hands of children or burning up in the atmosphere like prayers – candles lit and consumed in remembrance of our dancing lives before, the ghosts we carry with us in our hearts and words from here to the moon to the falling stars of shimmerlight, expanding in the vacuum where yesterdays return, like space in their blackness, in their depth and cold, with nothing but planets to sit on and wonder and wonder why.
I am done with this poem this story this song. I am ready to be written on a star, ready to fall from heaven, from the moon to the earth, to lift up my arms and hold out small hands to catch the stars of other dreamers, to receive dizzy poems, stories, songs tripping down into my pockets, into my bones growing taller, my fingers growing longer, aching for the green imaginings of a thousand midnight wishes and tumbling purple stars, reaching up, giddy, back toward the sky.