A Timid God in Mexico — Lisa Marie Basile
Sophia saw the bottom of the lake as she would the old Mexican gods. That was a perfect place.
This was the end. The bottom of the lake, coming toward her like the hands of her gentle Quetzalcoatl, became the archway to an infinity where color was replaced by flowers blooming into reality from little holes in the Universe, creating elaborate vines where marigolds mothered roses and serpent Gods slept on petals.
Here were the writhing giants trapped in thoughts and prayers, and the feathered serpents choking the breath from the Holy Father. Not on purpose, but because the world spins so quickly, and because the stars are so bright that snakes are sometimes drunk on all heavenly dance, Quetzalcoatl scaled into the churches and tried to dance with Jesus.
The white man with the translucent eyes, with his hands tucked up into the shape of a perfect steeple, he didn’t dance. The snake was sorrowful. “Why won’t you dance with me. Danza. Move.”
The Jesus’ eyes were empty and longed for a way to step down from the cross, off of his ivory pedestal, and so he bowed toward the serpent and murmured to himself a prayer.
Quetzalcoatl laughed, and asked how powerful a God could be if he were found praying for salvation. “Jesus, are you not the manifestation of God himself? Hola, ¿usted es dios, no?”
Jesus quivered, backing away from Quetzalcoatl’s feathers, which both tickled and agitated him. “I am the son of . . . ”
“Right,” the giant said.
Sophia was just outside the great church, sinking. In this heaven, there is a ranchero filled with sunlight, always skimming the surface of every body and lighting them enough with the color of sun that no one is forgotten and everywhere is seen. There would be music and food forever, and here, the Old World Gods would eat pan de muerto with you, because you’re dead and why not celebrate?
Jesus and Quetzalcoatl talked for a bit, deciding that they could split the heavens to the East of Cassiopeia. “La Diabla is in the South, of course and there are a few others somewhere out there, so if you will tell your people to stop killing my people, por favor, por favor. Loco! I will stop scaring your white land and your white people by coming into their dreams and telling them all about how we swoop around on the Calle drinking the blood of babies. You know it’s a joke, una broma . . . at least these days.”
Sophia shut her eyes and rested, and Quetzalcoatl stomped out of the church, un hombre feliz, a divine businessman, and held her in his scales. He brought her to the place where all the heaven looked like a dream and followed no rules. Sometimes those translucent people would tromp over the border in the sky and say, “Oh my Good god. Where are we?”
To which they would reply, “You are in Mexico. Also known as heaven.”