After Learning Too Much About Oshún

Joe Benevento

the santería goddess of love, whose favorite
color is yellow: river goddess, favorer of
honey, peacock feathers, mirrors, compiler
of the beautiful, beneficent, sensual force, though
with a temper more dangerous than infidelity,

I thought to use my new knowledge
to help with a novel, where santería, if not
sent up, would certainly not be sanctified.
Still, Oshún’s favorite number is five, which
fit the symmetry of the multiple murders

of the mystery novel intimately enough
to make the women devotees of this goddess,
steeped in passion and wise to women’s power,
more real to me than my actual wife, or rather
more symbolic of what I was tempted to worship,

not the blue and white virginity of my upbringing
but the yellow custard, golden honey offerings
of a desire I’d been told to abandon with my dismal,
distant youth. Now when I pray, if I’m not
offering Hail Marys for forgiveness, preparing

for the inevitable now of the eventual hour of
my death, Amen, I am with my teen son, fishing
the Chariton River, tying my gold spoon five feminine
knots, letting it start to drop below for a five count or some
multiple of five, before trying to retrieve something which can

never come, but that I am addicted to desiring all the more.