Following Teresa

by Alicia Viguer-Espert

Teresa couldn’t wait to shed
the skin of the snake in her spine.
For her, the process was a school 
to graduate to a realm fashioned by light.
“Muero porque no muero,” * she wrote, 
asked to be excused not by skipping a grade
but by passing all the tests
a heart could take. 

At night
opened the door of silence 
listened for His voice
and when He arrived kept him, 
like Scheherazade, prisoner with love stories.
Having sampled happiness 
couldn’t care about earthly fantasies.
“Muero porque no muero,” she wrote.
 
Trials never stopped her from founding a convent 
in Seville, another in Salamanca, and in between 
make time to be interrogated by the Inquisition.
A catholic of Jewish descent with karma to burn
accepted misfortune
but not without stating her mind,
“This is the way You treat your friends,
no wonder You have so few,”
she hurled at her Beloved when storms
and flooded rivers almost drown her.

The exiled soul remembered 
her cosmic origin, pinned to return.
“Muero porque no muero,” she wrote.

But my poor soul frightened to leave
the fleshy cage she’s accustomed to
cannot imagine lofty astral spheres. 
Hints of the Beloved’s presence
have been few, mostly sober,
no drunken nights together.

Following Teresa
I listen for His voice
dream to graduate to His embrace.

* “I die because I don’t die.”


Born in Valencia, Spain, Alicia Viguer-Espert was raised in a bilingual household of Castilian and Valencian, travelled the world, learned English as an adult, began writing in English in 2017 and that same year was the winner of the 2017 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Book. She writes about her relationship to nature, identity, language, home, and soul while dreaming to elicit hope with her poetry. Her work has been published in national and international journals, anthologies, magazines, and web sites. Featured poet at numerous museums, art galleries, libraries, and poetry salons, Alicia is also a twice Pushcart nominee. 

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