The Olive Trees Of Tzintzuntzan



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

in Tzintzuntzan.

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



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