Skip to content

Elote Prayers

I entered with sealed lips
Following my family through the dusty aisle
The mutton falling from my back
Pews lined the floor, vessels of hope
And confessions scattered throughout the rustic church


My eyes wandered from window to window
Seeking an escape, but
As the sun’s rays beamed through
I was met with vibrant depictions
Of sacrifice, glory, and God


Mass began and the world fell silent
My ears ringing with gospel
My head filling with countless sins
My tongue watering with temptation
As I remind myself of what awaits afterward


Its savory sweetness cocooned between its husks
The smell of cotija cheese that lingers in my nose
The linear pattern of kernels a reminder
Of the countless hours spent kneeling
For a God
A God I cannot see
A God I cannot smell
A God I cannot taste


The louder the preacher yelled the harder
I fell, deeper and deeper into myself
Where I found the truth
Buried beneath sin
This truth was silent
Silent like the moment I would finish my prayer
Waiting for an answer
There was no more ringing in my ear
I heard nothing
I felt free


The crunch of the kernels as my teeth bite down,
Exploded between my ears
The flavor of maize slowly streaming south
I swallow in peace but
Distracted by the pain of a kernel
Stuck between my teeth
Something belonging somewhere it shouldn’t
A sensation too familiar
I flick my tongue between my teeth
Rubbing side to side and underneath
Too stubborn to dissipate


Frustrated, I curse the name I once preached
The words flowing between my teeth
Passing pieces of prayers left from a previous life


As mass ended, the crowds stood once more
One by one they transported themselves back to reality
As I step through the wooden doors the first thing I see,
An elote waiting for me


David Vargas

Poetry Author

David Vargas is a sophomore biology major with a minor in creative writing who enjoys playing video games and listening to music from a variety of categories. David has a niece and nephew and hopes to serve as a role model for them, while also one day becoming a doctor.