The Gospel of Ometéotl, the Brown Adam

By J. Michael Martinez b. 1978

People walk through you, the wind steals your voice, 
 you’re a burra, buey, scapegoat,
forerunner of a new race,
half and half — both woman and man, neither —
 a new gender.
                          —Gloria Anzaldúa

Jasmine garlands thin
             for the rib’s cartilage ring.

The heart shudders with pure mission.

                                                         She spreads
                                                         & knows herself as Adam,

                                                         but through himself,

                                                         he is Eve.

            He knows but what the garden gives:

                        the garden’s soot
                        awakened tongueless in root.

            Cerise chrysantha
                        coils around his leg.

            Gathering the tides
                                    of the seas to his side,
                                    she conceives

                                    where impossibilities seed.

            Clarity burning coal,                he takes two knots

                                                of grass
                                                & strings

                        four birds-of-paradise

            through the ceiba’s rotted leaves:

                                    she fashions the sorrows
                                    from winter’s purse,

                                    & sun

                                    sifted for sum.

                        Entrammeled, Ometéotl rises
                                    one among one

                        body stitched in strange altar.

Source: Poetry (May 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2014
 J. Michael Martinez


J. Michael Martinez was born in Greeley, Colorado. He earned his BA from the University of Northern Colorado and his MFA from George Mason University. His first collection of poetry, Heredities (2010), received a Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Judge Juan Felipe Herrera chose the book for its “exhilarating descent into the unspoken” and noted, “[Martinez] gives voice to a dismembered continental body . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Relationships, Men & Women, Religion, Christianity, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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