July 16: Feast of the Virgin Carmen
Every cabbie in Colombia is crazy
for Carmen, the Virgin riding shot-gun,
who loves any man with wheels.
Over her they all lock horns
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
in a traffic-jammed devotion
inching past the drive-thru window
for her second-hand kiss
dished out by a priest with holy water.
All the POW! POW! POW!
above the red block houses makes it feel
like Syria under extremist siege,
except here today no one's dying;
Carmen loves too much for that.
She's so sweet that the streets
would lose their thing for killing
if only every driver hung
her picture from the rear-view mirror.
Then they'd see her looking back
and remember they're being followed
by a tenderness they can't outrun.