We’ll say the calendar made us feel
at home when your parents ask
how we like the latest doctor. Hanging
on the lobby’s wall above Peoples
and Cosmos, Mary held her arms open
in a gesture of welcome with a rosary
resting on her girlish, upturned wrists.
You pointed her out when they took you
for that day’s blood draw and set
of unanswered questions. You knew
I’d like the mundane transgression
of Mary presiding over the secular
saeculorum of the place. Although
I’ve never loved the doves and roses,
the cherubs pinching the hem
of her blue robe, she kept my mind off
the results, the pills, the commercials
for antidepressants circling every half hour
on the closed circuit. After you vanished
into the back, I lifted the calendar from
its nail and thumbed through the other Marys:
a stylish Guadalupe radiating needles
for October, Michelangelo’s marble
draped in the corpse of Christ for March,
and a small woman marveling at her own
miraculous infant in December. Seeing her
going through it too, month after month
praising and lamenting no matter what
went on in the boxes beneath her,
helped for a minute. When I hung her back,
I noticed she’d been stuck in May
this whole summer. I flipped ahead
to August. Titian’s assumption.
The mother of God drifts out of sight
in surprise, with the terrified apostles below.
Joshua Jones is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of North Texas. His poems and essays have appeared in Salamander, Southwest Review, and The Collagist, among other journals.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.