Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism


Our Lady of Water-Stained Cement
has made her image known below the overpass.
Soon new accidents happen as cars slow down
to view, in variegated grays, her likeness
where it was least likely to be seen.

Two ordinary sticks,
barely aware of what they do,
now cross themselves
to mark the place of a soul's release into unabated space.

A lily,
dropped from the cab of a passing semi,
takes root in a crack of asphalt
and re-blooms all season with funereal scent.

Each new mother whose child dies
as the shrine of milagro-photos,
plastic roses and veladores
grows into more of the roadway,
asks the Virgin why
the miraculous exacts so high a toll.

m a u r e e n   t o l m a n   f l a n n e r y
e v a n s t o n,   i l l i n o i s

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Rev'd 2006/01/16