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Pablo Campues, Saint

by Henry Miles

In Quito, Pablo worked in a match factory, 
made seventy-five centavos a day,
lived in a cave house his own hands

had hollowed in the mountain. 
In his thirties, he learned
that the stone of Daniel 2:44

cut from the mountain without hands,
had begun to roll, would grow like a snowball, 
until it covered the earth.

Pablo got baptized, attended church 
—became inactive. Two Mormon elders 
sweated their way up the mountain,

encouraged him back to the stone. 
Their concern overwhelmed him; 
he knew only friends made that walk.

On Sundays, his red hands placed 
hymnals on warped benches, 
then picked them up again.

Weekdays at dawn in seminary
print on pages took on sounds, then sense.
Pablo tithed, did home teaching, shared the stone.

"Make Pablo a leader in the Sunday School," 
a gringo elder urged Presidente Toro, who said,
"I want to, but Pablo speaks badly, can barely read."

"But," said the elder, "Gringos speak worse,
read worse, and we use them." 
The presidente shook his head.

"With gringos poor Spanish is not a lack of culture.
Would nonmembers return after a meeting led
by a righteous, but barely literate, Indio?" he asked.

Six years after his baptism, Pablo died;
the presidente learned three weeks too late.
Pablo's friends at the factory,

unaware of his new faith, pooled
their pesos, and procured
a mass for Pablo's soul.

Henry Miles, after working more than 30 years in the foreign service, has settled in Provo and enrolled in the English graduate program at BYU.