Parking Lot Prophet
As soon as he said it,
I knew what it was.
He called across the parking lot,
Tall, Black, dressed in coveralls,
Beaming like that summer sun.
“You take care of that baby.”
Her weight swelled my belly.
I smiled back. “I will.”
“May they be strong and healthy,
And take over the world someday.”
I’d remember his words, to cling or to scoff,
When she screamed in the mornings at 4 am.
Strong and healthy, when I was so sick?
He said to take care of her.
I gave all I had.
It took a long struggle,
Want of milk, broken mind,
Midnights crying out together
Before the hands to reach us held empty and open,
Ready to let go, steady to receive.
In the NICU, she had prayed through her pain,
Pumped her breasts into little tubes labeled with his name.
For months her offering filled the freezer,
Waiting for the day she’d see him laugh again.
They laid his grave on the cusp of Advent,
And she knew her gift belonged to someone else.
She’d raise alive another mother’s child.
I dreamed him grown and glad to save her,
My little girl who did not starve.
What could prepare you for heartache so holy?
Merracle, we called her.
Manna-fed, she grew
From beautiful surrender
And a village full of love.
Someday, he said, she’d take over the world.
President? Preacher? A brave Pioneer?
Or will the last words of the parking lot prophet
Strip and surprise as much
As what’s already come?
Cover image by Antonio Poveda Montes