Consolation Miracle

by Chad Davidson

Besides, the few miracles attributed to the angel showed a certain mental disorder, like the blind man who didn’t recover his sight but grew three new teeth, or the paralytic who didn’t walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers. Those consolation miracles, which were more like mocking fun, had already ruined the angel’s reputation when the woman who had been changed into a spider finally crushed him completely.

        — García Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

In the pewless church of San Juan Chamula,
a neo-Catholic Tzotzil Indian
wrings a chicken’s neck. Through piñoned air,
stars from tourist flashbulbs die, reflecting
in each reddened eye, in the mirrors
statuary cling to inside their plate-
glass boxes. A mother fills a shot
glass with fire. Others offer up their moon-
shine swelling in goat bladders, the slender
throats of Coke bottles, as if gods too thirsted
for the real thing. The slightest angle
of a satellite dish sends me to Florida,
where the sleepless claim the stars talk
too much. They stumble to their own
worn Virgin Mary whose eyes, they swear,
bleed. Florida: rising with its dead
even as it sinks into the glade.

Or there, a continent away, the heavenly gait
of Bigfoot in the famous Super 8,
voiced over by a cryptozoologist
who all but laughs at the zipper-lined torso.
Bigfoot trails out of California
into my living room, a miracle
in the muddled middle ground of the event
horizon, in the swell between each seismic wave
when time carries itself like Bigfoot: heavy,
awkward, a touch too real to be real.
And the miracle cleaners make everything
disappear into far too-floral scents.
Miracle-starved, out of sleep or the lack of it,
I keep watching, not to see Bigfoot
but to be Bigfoot, to traipse through screens,
and the countless peering eyes, the brilliant
nebulae bleeding. Yeti, pray
you come again, you Sasquatch. Video
our world for your religions. Memorize
all these pleasure bulbs, these satellites,
our eyes, our stars. Look: how we turn
each other on tonight, one at a time.

Chad Davidson is an assistant professor of English at the State University of West Georgia. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, DoubleTake, Epoch, The Paris Review, Pequod, Poet Lore, and numerous other publications. Southern Illinois Press published his first book, Consolation Miracle in 2003.