Oil Tank
Jean A. Kingsley
		—Fostoria, Ohio
It happens in the evening: 
a drapery maker on her way 

home from work, thinks about 
dinner, who will cook, what 

is needed from the store. A family 
might wait: a husband, children, 

an aging mother. She sighs 
glancing at her hands 

on the steering wheel, winces 
at all the nicks and pin-pricks

the price for feeling fine 
fabrics all day.

An August sky, the light
just beginning to shorten itself 

across the valley, she looks 
up at the dividing light, slams 
on the brakes.

She has no doubt: a picture in rust 
on a forty-foot oil tank, Jesus 

in a white robe, his hand resting 
on a shoulder of a young boy.

Weeks later, she shouts: I am a good Catholic 
to city officials who have to deal 

with hundreds of motorists lined 
up on the highway, tourists 

thumping Bibles and swilling 
beer. Reporters can't take it 

seriously: a bunch of rust spots 
and fog. It's nothing, they say, 
not even Elvis.
Jean A. Kingsley was born in Omaha, Nebraska, has lived in Arizona, Alaska, and Virginia and now resides in Rochester, New York. She earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from SUNY College at Brockport, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. She is the recipient of the 1995 Academy of American Poets Prize, a finalist for "Discovery"/The Nation and The Constance Saltonstall Foundation of the Arts Fellowship. Her poems and essays have appeared in Tar River Poetry, River Oak Review, American Literary Review, Excursus Literary Arts Journal, Quarterly West, Eclipse, and Poetry Lore, among others. She has recently won a poetry book award for Traceries from ABZ Press, selected by C. D. Wright.