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.