The Cocoa Bean Shaman

She rattles the dead skin of her ancestors
under a full rabbit moon.
Her thighs and breasts run dark and glossy
with food for the gods
as she dances wildly in Yucatan jungle.
A jaguar pelt hangs around her waist,
aids her journey between worlds
and her bare feet grind rattlesnakes,
medicine to recover the lost soul of a baby girl.
She drums throughout the night,
divines secrets from Xibalba,
while bats with their eyes of death dart above
and a mischievous black howler monkey
scrawls healing verse.
At dawn, macaws whistle and squawk,
parade their plumage
and long-tailed feathers in celebration.
The cocoa bean shaman blows away the long shadow
beckons the dispossessed to come out of howling.
Mother and Daughter squint in the new light.

Xibalba - "place of fear", name of the underworld in Maya mythology

Back to Poetry & Story page