Recoleta by Lorraine Caputo

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Recoleta
by Lorraine Caputo

In this gated
     city within
          the city
     narrow calles
          labyrinthine
Rest eternal souls of
     doctors & founders
          business moghuls
     politicians, presidents
          & heroes of forgotten wars
(Their grumbling yet
     resounds about, around
          Evita’s tomb
     where fresh flowers
          are lain)

Beneath their
     Gothic spires, domes
          beyond Doric columns
     fine sculpture
          Art Deco reliefs
Behind façades of
     dimmed black granite
          of façades now crumbled
     revealing eroded brick
          eroded mortar
Bronze honor plaques
     deep-greened
          wrought-iron doors
    rusting & cobweb-woven
          panes shattered

Stained glass windows still
     kaleidoscope across
          fallen plaster, dust of
     long-gone flowers
          covering
White marble altars
     & carved caskets
          decaying
     in sultry
          porteño summers

PHOTO: La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo by DPKelly07, used by permission.

NOTE: La Recoleta Cemetery  is located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos AiresArgentina. It contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Perón, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, and a granddaughter of Napoleon. In 2011, the BBC hailed it as one of the world’s best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Franciscan Recollect monks (los recoletos) from Spain arrived in this area, then the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the early eighteenth century. The cemetery is built around the Recollect Convent and a church, Our Lady of Pilar built in 1732.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator, and travel writer. Her work appears in over 180 journals in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, as well as in 12 chapbooks of poetry – including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017), and On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019). She also pens travel pieces, with stories appearing in the anthologies Drive: Women’s True Stories from the Open Road (Seal Press, 2002) and Far-Flung and Foreign (Lowestoft Chronicle Press, 2012), and travel articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia, and journeys through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. You may follow her Latin America Wander travels on Facebook and at latinamericawander.wordpresscom.

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