María Luisa Arroyo

after Rhett Watts’ Madonna painting on tin

Madonna on tin, you remind me of mami,
homebound saint, who never grunts
under the sag of papi, double amputee,
whom she heaves like 3 one-hundred pound sacks
of Goya rice—from bed to wheelchair
to bathchair to wash, to wheelchair again
with wheels as round as your halo.

Madonna, mami has your statue in her basement altar
and when papi nods off while watching “Caso Cerrado”,
she sneaks downstairs to light a white candle,
to dust you and other saints, to replenish
the glass bowl of evaporating water,
and to replace the apple, skin puckered brown,
with a red one warmed by her hands.

And then, she prays.
Until she hears the thump of his cane.