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Religious Passing by Mai Tran

jesus seen once in Ohio

By Alahna Vallone

“he is said to burn bright, sweat-slicked and smiling.” 

there, ablaze in the midwestern sun

he is said to burn bright, sweat-slicked and smiling.


and he will take mothers from

daughters and sons. she will be saved.


a girl said to her mother that jesus was seen on a screen

in Ohio. where? where? tall in the corn fields. 


show me. show me.     she cannot see

through the glass, he came


for Ohio, in all its vast nothingness.

what greater being does not yearn


for late night department store trips

with only coins, rattling in your pockets?


he wanders earth like we peruse  

the dollar section, the aisles


cold, white and clean, like hospitals. 

the store will be closing in 10 minutes.


please make your way to the front.

my mother shakes me.


please bow down to him, though your knees

are not made to bend. please


don’t leave me

alone with your father.


the one in heaven. the one at a home of her dreams.

i cracked open her leather-bound bible


to cite my sources mla style. dust

expands like smoke. i cough all the same.


put it on my bedside table when you're done.

i leave it on the cold tile outside her door


because i hear her muffled sobs. because i do not know jesus

and i’ve never been to Ohio, but sorrow


i have seen. sorrow. i have seen sorrow      in the mirror,

in my mother’s eyes, in losing faith               in all fathers,


in the eyes of a little girl who found out

about saint nicholas under an empty tree, who


has fallen to her knees so many times, for so many

brothers and fathers, mouth agape.


always, she has risen

starving for a miracle.


jesus is just another fantasy.

no man is coming back to save us.


About the Writer...

Alahna Vallone is an artist in her senior year of Creative Writing at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. She focuses on writing confessional poetry and lyrical fiction. She’s an alumnus of Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference and is the current Managing Editor of Élan Literary Magazine. Her work often discusses womanhood, regret, and identity. She has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing and First Coast Young Voices.

About the Artist...

Mai Tran is a senior at Savannah Arts Academy majoring in visual arts. She has three dogs and a twin sister. Their favorite medium is working on scratch board.

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