Johanna DeMay: “Reasonable Doubt”

Reasonable Doubt

I don’t trust Big Pharma, Margaret frets,
but Mexican folk remedies? Mushrooms?

Herbal teas, lime juice, turpentine?
Aren’t curanderos just faith healers?

Tepotzláns ancient shaman, Don Pedro,
blended Náhuatl with Spanish—duet 

of reed flute and Flamenco guitar. He patched
my bloody finger with warm belly fat

from a tlacuache—Mexicos beloved marsupial.
Tore a strip from my yellow silk scarf

to wrap his handiwork, warned me
not to wash my hand. I had nightmares—

infection, amputation—yet my wounded hand
felt cool, no longer throbbed. 

A week later he removed the bandage—
no lump of putrid fat, just a pale ridge

of ropy skin. ¡Perfecto! A perfect graft.
After fifty years, even the scar has disappeared.

Faith healers? Auras? New Age crystals?
¿Quién sabe? But curanderos…

I’d almost forgotten my tlacuache transplant.


Growing up in Mexico City, Johanna DeMay began writing to bridge the gap between her two languages, two cultures. Now retired, she writes and volunteers with the immigrant community. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. “Waypoints,” a collection of her poems, will be released by Finishing Line Press in 2022.

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