the star market

Image

The people Jesus loved were shopping at the Star Market yesterday.

An old lead-colored man standing next to me at the checkout

breathed so heavily I had to step back a few steps.

Even after his bags were packed he still stood, breathing hard and

hawking into his hand. The feeble, the lame, I could hardly look at them:

shuffling through the aisles, they smelled of decay, as if the Star Market

had declared a day off for the able-bodied, and I had wandered in

with the rest of them—sour milk, bad meat—

looking for cereal and spring water.

Jesus must have been a saint, I said to myself, looking for my lost car

in the parking lot later, stumbling among the people who would have

been lowered into rooms by ropes, who would have crept

out of caves or crawled from the corners of public baths on their hands

and knees begging for mercy.

If I touch only the hem of his garment, one woman thought,

could I bear the look on his face when he wheels around?

by Marie Howe

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