At the tail end of the night
Concrete gets too gritty on your back
And fog blinds the alleys south of Spring Street.
So you creak to your feet
Wrap your greasy blanket round your shoulders
And you slump off to Mama Silva’s.
Catty corner from the mission
Next to the barred up liquor store
She’s open all the time.
Crackheads and knife fights and
Sirens in the the night —
Mama Silva just goes on.
Light from her window full of flowers
Washes down the puddles on the street.
Blue beads clatter at her doorways
And you shiver when you walk on through
Because you’ve been this way before.
Anyhow you shrug off that blanket
Just like a snake shedding skin and you
Step into her forest:
Herbs and incense and heads on the wall
Hanging ferns and the black Virgin
On her table full of candles and the little silver bowl.
You slide into warmth and coffee
And her voice like honey on a not morning.
Scents of cinnamon and juniper
Rustle of wings and whispers in her corners
Sing you off to sleep again. So
When Mama Silva takes her price
You never feel the pain.