Delfina-And-Dimas
Goddess
by Patrick T. Reardon

The Mexican goddess enfleshed in
McDonald’s with a wide smile under
her wide mountain nose and her
children, all girls under eight, alert
to the kiosk choices, and her thin
husband, studying the receipt and,
for no reason, remembering when
he was thinner, younger, and stood
waiting for work through the sun arc
and got an hour’s worth at the end
and was paid a day’s worth and
never got a chance to go back, and
he shows his vaccination card on his
phone to the McDonald’s woman,
masked, who asks in Spanish, and so
does his oldest daughter on her own
phone, the other two too young to
need it, but the Buddha goddess
smiles, shy, and shakes her head no,
and the McDonald’s woman gives her
a pass, seeing that it’s nine degrees
outside and let’s hope no city
inspector is around, not that guy
there writing notes on his receipt
about the thick stone idol, his mother,
weighing more than all the planets,
yet only a much-notched shell around
a constant dread hurricane that
electricked through the soil and up,
like a dishonest bloom, into the
tendons of her many daughters and
sons, and the Quetzalcoatl goddess
heads outside to the car, holding,
with one hand, her coat half-closed
against the wind and, with the other,
her little daughter’s hand and winter
cap with a cartoon animal face, the
sum of all joys and sorrows, and the
guy making notes, for no reason,
remembers the sun’s morning shadows
across seminary fields when, younger,
thinner, he knew himself adrift on an
essential river moving away from
the interior and out to the mouth
of the boundless perplexing sea.

PAINTING: Delfina and Dimas by Diego Rivera (1935).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a poem about a moment of grace in a McDonald’s where I was having breakfast and saw this Mexican goddess and her family, and the sweet blind-eye the McDonald’s woman turned to the goddess’s lack of a vaccination card, and the mother the goddess seemed to be warm and nurturing, and the backstory I envisioned for the husband, and the how it dovetailed with my real story, and the recognition that we’re all — me, you, the goddess — “moving away from/ the interior and out to the mouth/ of the boundless perplexing sea.”

Patrick T. Reardon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, has authored 11 books, including the poetry collections Requiem for David (Silver Birch Press), Darkness on the Face of the Deep (Kelsay Books), and The Lost Tribes (Grey Book). Forthcoming is his memoir in prose poems Puddin’: The Autobiography of a Baby (Third World). His poetry has appeared in Rhino, Main Street Rag, America, Autumn Sky, Burningword Literary Journal, and many others. His poem “The archangel Michael” was a finalist for the 2022 Mary Blinn Poetry Prize. Visit him at patricktreardon.com.