At Mama Silva’s

At the tail end of the night
Cement’s too gritty on your back
And fog blinds the alleys
South of Spring Street.
So you creak to your feet
Wrap that greasy blanket round your shoulders
And you drag yourself down to Mama Silva’s.

Catty corner from the mission
Next to the barred up liquor store
She’s open all the time.
Crack heads and knife fights
And sirens in the night:
Mama Silva just goes on.

Light from her window full of flowers
Washes down the puddles on the street.
Blue beads chatter in her doorway.
You shrug off the blanket
Just like a snake shedding skin
And you step into her forest.

Herbs and incense and heads on the wall:
You sink into warmth and coffee
And her voice like honey on a hot morning.

There’s cinnamon and juniper
And the rustle of wings
And whispers from all her corners
Singing you off to sleep again
So when Mama Silva takes her price
You never feel the pain.

Introducing Mama Silva

This little poem marks the first appearance in print of Mercedes “Mama” Silva, Soledad City’s most fearsome witch. It’s also the inspiration for the longer story, Largo’s Midnight, which you can also read here.

Learn more about the making of the Moon Road stories at jeanmckinney.com.

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