Bio Note: In this year of isolation and fear, I am at work on a new book. Here is an old poem from another difficult era.
Jesus in a Plastic Jacket
My neighbor shows me a picture of Jesus on the cover of Time magazine that he carries with him everywhere encased in a plastic jacket— the kind used to keep safe pages of term papers, letters from the President or Pope. “It saved my life,” he says “Look at the date, my birthday,” he points to the corner, tells me how he saw Jesus in the hospital waiting-room then decided to have the surgery he’d earlier refused. Because I saw a horseshoe on the tail of an airplane I was ticketed to board one early morning alone, a continent from home, I walked across the tarmac, climbed the stairs. Afraid to move, I had looked for a sign the plane would take me back to Kansas, not to hell. And once, wading a vacation ocean, I met a child who introduced himself as Jake and reached for my hand. Jake. My grandfather’s name. I saw resemblance— the smile, the same dimple in his chin, and I thought he’d come back to me in the form of that child. For a moment, I believed I could grasp everything— the conservation of matter, the oneness of being, everlasting life— hold everything in my hand, that the lines on the palm and the freckles on the back had the same predictive power as the Zodiac, the same protective balm as Jesus on the cover of Time encased in a plastic jacket.
Originally published in Transforming Matter PEARL Editions
©2020 Donna Hilbert
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