Even the most insignificant detail is a petal
detached from the more florid arrangements

of history. For instance, it’s not a coincidence
that the puffy-faced, butterfly-sleeved widow

of a deceased dictator says, There are two most
important men in my life and both of them are

. There’s a whole line of women
installed to power by their sons who were

emperors. Mothers, certainly, but also ambitious;
knowledgeable in the poisonous properties of mush-

rooms, the power of relics to inspire processions,
where loyalty and ardor are on lavish display.

In our town, mothers fought for their daughters’
places in the Santacruzan’s entourage of queens—

The most important: Reyna Elena who found
the true cross, mother of Constantine the Great.

The rest of us were First or Second Princesses,
stumbling in long sequinned dresses; or stand-ins

for made up or biblical characters. Reyna Justicia,
Reyna de la Paz, Reyna Esperanza; Reyna Mora, Reyna

Cleopatra. Reyna Judit—red-stained sword aloft in one
hand, the other dangling a doll’s decapitated head by its hair.

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