Close to Lupe

I was bumping through the desert
my knees to my chin
in the passenger seat of a VW bug.
Early December in southern Mexico.

How long did it take to pass them?
Yet here the pilgrims remain
in my mind
each Virgin’s Day
With their placard of Mary on a stick
and many miles and smoking Popo
between them and the Basilica.

They long for her
The desire is never quenched
For a woman like that
who offers herself to God
and not to human intention
Who blesses but does not need
Who is that unwounded place
from which all true praise can come to heal the world.

She has been my companion ever since.
When I unfurl my cloak,
she is there with flowers.
In the midst of my wilderness,
she is lifted up.

And I am always driving away in the other direction
When she knows where to go.

Stay close to Lupe.
Stay close.

—Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, 2014