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Way, Way, Way More
Than an Introduction to This Poem

April 14, 2024

by Judyth Hill

I fell in love. Stumbled, tumbled….in longing… for a Canadian man living in San Miguel…

His story did not quite jive: a master chocolatier whose very successful business…had just failed.

An internet romance. (No inferences to be drawn.) (Maybe?) (Maybe not.)

He invited me to come visit him, and I flew, all nerves and fabulous lingerie to meet him...but really, as I did not and could not know, to meet San Miguel.

I have a theory that when we move to a town that belongs to a Saint… we need to pay attention.

Years before, I had moved all ambition and college-degreed to Santa Fe…the city of Holy Faith, a city belonging to Francis of Assisi. Francis, who said, Give all you have to God. A city with a Mystery Agenda: a place to find true wealth by losing everything.

And San Miguel? A place to fight dragons with an Archangel on your side, and win.

My then-Beloved, also named Michael, (just in case I wasn't paying attention) drove me from his derelict, beautiful trying-to-be-a-farm out on the Carretera por Japla into Centro. And left me to wander by myself.

There was some wisdom to this. Eventually, most folks that actually make their home in San Miguel come to recognize that starry-eyed, O, I want to live HERE look from recent arriver's. Those who have made (found) a home here know only time will tell.

Michael knew. The secret to staying: fall in love with San Miguel. The town. The place. Here.

I had brought, as I do, paper. And a pen. I had wandered, gotten lost as ever, and found somewhere wondrous... St Anthony's Iglesia. Of course. Saint of Finding.

And sitting on a bench, my first first first time seeing this astonishing town, I began a poem,

and then...stopped. Because why? Michael came to get me...? I had said what I could for that moment?

I have a strong practice — I have been writing poems all my life and mostly, I finish them. Not this one.

But I kept that piece of paper. Handwritten, growing more raggedy ... for years. Ten. Then eleven. Long after I had left, and again lost some version of everything—though I fought hard, and definitely had angels, I would return every year, with that paper bearing this poem's start... her sturdy, wise beginning.

I would read it, and think, "I still don't know the ending." And put her away.

Til now. This time, back in San Miguel, I read it, and thought "I know something. Maybe not the end, but maybe enough to lay this poem down."

Laying a poem down means it is time for a ceremonial Give Away.

The Give Away is a Lakota, among other tribe's, tradition of giving a treasured, valuable object away – an act of sharing that acknowledges the sacred medicine of owning and making is only completed by the Give Away.

Which for a poem means publishing.

A writer's way of winning, with angels, a battle with dragons.


I went into the Iglesia of San Antonio,

and became quiet in the way of seeking, buscando, and the way of losing, perdiendo, in the way of men that cannot touch and the women who want them to.

Became quiet in the way of cobblestone and a pantheon of saints and angels and huipils from Oaxaca and the beaded deer antlers of the Huichol people.

Street sounds and jake brakes, tobacco fumes, and wrought iron balustrades.

I wanted the table linens, their silken bouquets embroidered in sunny day colors and the cut away absence defining the pattern. I wanted Talavera tiled bed tables, something with a drawer and an iron pull, and I wanted elaborate door knockers, an ear of corn, or a lion, and I also wanted nothing.

I wanted not to want, not to spend or acquire or speak.

I desired nothing dyed another color, or stitched or carved or at all ornate, but in a wanting kind of way.

I wanted something vagabond, something fossil, something you would offer a child, a candle to burn at the foot of Clare, roses for the Holy Mother.

Tell me your story, I think, I almost say, though I speak to no one.

Suddenly, after so many months and years, I want to weep at the magnificent disaster of it all.

Then I want the ice plants blooming rampant, the presa full, the trumpet vines in shattering vivid, the way my skin was so hot, and so cold, both.

I sat and looked a long time, and soaked my skirt in rainpooled stone, in the ancient and the ache of it.

I remember that I loved the way your house smelled and felt alive in waves of Beauty and New.

I asked what will speak later, and I didn't know, platinos in a paper sack, a dessert on the tongue of desire, laurel trees pressed edge to edge, making their wall of green in the jardin.

And I want to be quiet in the way of leaving and arriving, which I always am.

The chatter of stay is what departs first.

And then the love we did not and will not make, and the future we will not have, though I bought and built a farm of chocolate and gladiolas to learn this.

But I still have the music of Gil and Cartas, and picadillo tortas at the Sunday Tianguis and the Charco at sundown, a murmuration of cowbirds and the Soriana checkout lady that loved me, her smile all braces and glamor and the secret peach tree in the parking lot, and the glorieta etiquette I never mastered, and café de ollo, and atole from the tamale family early mornings on the Salida de Queretaro, and tuberoses and freesia at the tucked-away stand on the Ancha and car parts, so many car parts.

You can't rush gratitude it turns out.

But it comes. Or you get there.

It's the secret destination of all travel, all the love we think lost.



Judyth Hill, poet, maestra, and editor, is the author of the internationally acclaimed poem "Wage Peace," which has been set to music, performed, and recorded by choirs and orchestras.

She is the author of nine poetry collections, including Dazzling Wobble, Hardwired for Love, and Men Need Space.

Hill is the President Emerita of San Miguel PEN, co-creator/director of Poetry Mesa, a global organization serving poets and poetry, Editor-in-Chief of the hybrid publishing company, Wild Rising Press, and an Anusara Yoga Special Subjects instructor.

Hill conducts workshops at conferences world-round and on Zoom and leads Muse on the Move Adventures in Ireland, Taos, and Mexico.

She was described by the St. Helena Examiner as "Energy with skin" and by the Denver Post as "A tigress with a pen."

Her brand new collection of poems, Writing Down the Moon, is available here here.


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