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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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ANGELS AND POPSICLES OR ST. THERESA AT AMERICAN MALLS


by Brian Barbeito




It’s a crescent moon there, but only for quick seconds. It gets drunk up like a quick libation by the storm clouds. See, the afternoon was overcast and now the night joins in on the trouble. It begins to rain. And hard. It hits the bricks and summits, the retaining walls even pause for some panic. Yup, the dusk and the afternoon and the night all meeting against oddsintermingling,

sharing forces like three dogs jumping another and pinning it.  Why? There is not really a real why. Not that we can know. But north, at the topmost part of the State, is a series of malls. A strange lady wanders ‘round there. In lots where curt sturdy white demarcation lines paint themselves on black asphalt and the rain gathers from curbs and streets and other, pissing down solid industrial grates and making their way. The lady? She comes and goes but is there more than not. Its little things she does. Unseen. Minor. Nuanced. But there is a secret that not many people hear, and those that do, hardly believe. The secret is that there are no small things. Theresa knows this. She opens doors, helps children who have fallen and bruised a knee. Shows the aged the way when they are lost. Whispers on the shoulder of us, acting as the right force and conscience in times when nobody sees. Though the outside is lurid and unkind, Theresa remains unafraid. One time, a decade ago, she sat at a table with some of the old ethnic men who pawed beads, rosaries, and other artifacts. Theresa told them she had come to help the world in unseen ways, in her own manner, which was the manner of something much larger but not grandiose. Of course they looked at her blankly. Behind her were the electric lights of the food court, and beyond that, the numerous places with signs and sales. One of the old men ate a Popsicle, and listened intently. He believed. Theresa knew this. They exchanged a knowing glance. Then, in the over-industrialized world that was vacuous at heart and head, haughty in the eye, and greed ridden for things it could not even understand, Theresa bid the men adieu and walked into the crowds to continue her work. Rain banged the mall tops like a million marbles thrown down in anger.