Gnarled stumps of ancient trees
posture throughout the monastic atrium
like fat robed friars discussing
the care of the recently conquered Purepecha.
This is the grove of Spanish monks
consigned to a mission an ocean away,
who simply wrote home
for their favorite food,
of which there was none
If they expected jars for their larder
they may have been dismayed
to receive forty saplings,
the first oliveros in this godforsaken land.
Nearly 500 years
and the shadows have lengthened
until they mingle and only splotches of light
dapple the atrium.
Purepecha on horseback gather
to eat and exchange views on the coming election.
The twisted, tortured trunks are
hollow bark shells and appear to be dead,
but look up and witness the miracle
of green leaves aspiring to the sun.
By Margaret Van Every