Patrick Dixon 



What if Mary
was indeed the mother of God? What if she
was standing on the corner this Sunday
like the woman I drove past, her cardboard sign
Kids and I Need Food, or the one she had last week:
Need $60 for rent? Is $60 what it takes to rent a manger
for a month? A stable? A twenty-first century stall
lined with straw? How much more did she need for food?

No, she wasn’t pregnant.
But what if God was already born, an infant
in swaddling clothes, hungry, alone in the bushes
behind mother Mary, tucked out-of-sight for fear of DSHS?
What would happen if the state took away the Child of God
from her loving mother, and put her in the foster system?
What kind of God would that child grow up to be?

And where does that leave us?

I wish I could say
I rolled down my window and handed her a dollar
or sixty. But I didn’t. I was in a rush to get to the store
before it got too crowded with Christians after church.
Too embarrassed to look another Mother of God in the eye,
I pretended to be a more conscientious driver than I am.
I checked the traffic over her shoulder before speeding
away, echoes of a crying child in my ears.


above Crater Lake, Oregon, 2016


I stand, 65 years of packed baggage
intact on the caldera rim while sun sets,
blazing fire above parched landscape:
August, and it hasn’t rained in months.
The snow is almost gone, melt drains
into pumiced slopes, reappears as waterfalls,
plunges to a lake bluer than autumn sky.

The planet rolls from waning light. I ride
a dormant volcano, seven thousand feet
above the sea, into darkness. Eight millennia
have passed  since ancestors of Klamath Indians
witnessed a battle of Gods create a crucible for
the deepest lake in the country. A cradle for their home.

Dozens of stars appear above darkening water
and silhouetted slopes. I adjust camera, eyes, attitude
to embrace an unveiled Milky Way. Glowing cloud
on a cloudless night, a galaxy of stars each a sun
or galaxy of its own. I gaze at ancient light,
every dot radiated billions of years ago.
My baggage spills on the ground like
a meteor:  fleeting streak leaves
lingering afterglow. No wonder
this place is known for clarity.





Patrick Dixon is a writer and photographer retired from careers in teaching and commercial fishing. Published in Cirque Literary Journal, the 2015 FISH anthology, Oberon Poetry Journal, Panoplyzine, Raven Chronicles and Smithsonian, he is the poetry editor and a contributor for National Fisherman magazine and their quarterly, North Pacific Focus.  Patrick is the editor of Anchored in Deep Water: The FisherPoets Anthology (2014). His chapbook Arc of Visibility won the 2015 Alabama State Poetry Morris Memorial competition.