Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tagetes lucida

It’s a Western plant, all right. The only thing Old World
about this little scruffy shrub has been grafted onto its
name: Tages, the prophet who appeared at plow-time
and taught the Etruscans divination, who’d brought light
alongside him within the anise-scented leaves. But his
influence in the New World is limited. The Guatemalan
and Mexican grandmothers have ideas of their own as
to what to do with this gift, and there’s not much use
for an old prophet from another place and time when
their santos live now, know them each by name. Folks
to heal, children to nurse, meat roasting: old Tages must
sit outside the jacal until the grannies call him to help.

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