Two Poems by

Steven Croft


The Truth of a Thing Can Come In a Flash



After a phantom ride through miles

of green Yucata̒n jungle, the hotel van moves

under a white stuccoed arch, enters the hum

of Valladolid, passes blocks of row buildings

painted lime, yellow, burnt red. Ushered

out downtown, given "three hours to explore,"

I head for the twin cathedral towers

that watch over the town's narrow streets.


The tremolo sounds of Spanish guitar played

under the lush green leaves of trees reel me

into a plaza where a girl, barely a teen,

sits beside the guitarist, perhaps her father.

Her feet dirty under tasseled fringe of a brown

blanket poncho, I hesitate, hesitate

to be taken in by beggars, wonder if a man

who plays so elegantly can really be dirt poor.


I decide to move on but the girl's "Señor" stops

me, grief the most riveting language.  I finger

out two fifty pesos coins in my pocket -- one

for the girl's hand, and one for the open

guitar case -- this afternoon's price for beauty --

and sit on the bench next to them.




Ceremony



On a day of high sun and bird songs in trees at Chiche̒n-Itza̒

I am at the edge of the Well of Sacrifice, a lake in a crevice

of limestone hills, wait by it as the guide's voice fades,

moving the group down the central plaza -- set to dreaming

by her strange story of crop failure, drought, war, how living

bodies fell here, their blood released by priests, clouding

an underworld of blue water so the carved stone hands

of gods might lift to grace again an anxious people.


I wonder at the death-walk slap of sandals up to the end

of life, on a day like today, the drip drip feeding of souls

to water, lulled maybe by the rhythm of priests' chants,

bowls of drugged liquid from the hands of fervid servants,

how in their steps the chosen dream the rains have come,

the war against the city ended, mid-step, how they might

lift eyes in a shuffling line that idles at the murmured news,

how they are let go, running for the kiss of family with hearts

burning like the liquor from agave plants.


Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. For the last thirteen years he has worked in a library.


He has recent poems in Sky Island Journal, As It Ought to Be Magazine, Poets Reading the News, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Third Wednesday, Red Eft

Review, and other places.