The Miracle




“The miracle wasn’t that the statues were crying;
It was in the amount of people who undoubtedly

believed that they were witnessing one.”

The beatific aura reserved for the white-coated nurses disappears. One quacking lady encourages me to eat my identification papers. She calls them evidence. I need them as a reminder because I am too tranquil to remember what my name is, where I am, and most of all, why in God’s name I’m here. This lady scares me so badly, with her gnarled hair and faintest resemblance to my mother, that I flush the pink and yellow pages down the toilet.

The fluorescent lights hum like angel wings and I can see my reflection in the glare of the bowl. No one will ever ask me about them again. I destroyed things that weren’t significant enough to exist.

*

I steal away to the dim-lit chapel. A man is mumbling and moving his hand repeatedly. He appears to be brushing something invisible away. I saw him earlier in the common room of sorts. Crowds were gathered around him like he was a prophet and his hand was a crystal ball that held everyone’s futures. They stared at it with mistrust, expecting it to tell their deepest, darkest secrets. Occasionally he yelled out something coherent but seemingly random. “Get that girl a glass of water!” The hand was flicking toward me. It was no coincidence. I was definitely parched so I needed no more proof of his claircognizant ability.

I didn’t want to talk to him then, and I pray he doesn’t notice me now.

*

Later. Outdoors. There’s a lady in a white nightgown hovering around the trees. I want to follow her but voices call me back. Copies of the same woman smoking a cigarette with her hair wrapped in a bath towel sit on the rows and rows of park benches. I am the only traveler on this road between them, sifting along through their tantalizing tendrils of grey smoke. The white-gowned ghost just watches. The voices say the saints will keep me safe just by watching.

*

I can’t sleep because figures keep appearing in the doorway and my wrists and ankles are so sore from the “incident” earlier that resulted in my being put in restraints. The bruises probably match the circles around my eyes and that will have to be okay. The lady in the white nightgown sleeps in a bed next to mine and only in this moment do I believe that she’s real.

*

I’m in the bathroom again, trying to fish my papers out of the sink drain. I think if I keep flushing the toilet that somehow they will work their way through the pipes and float up into the sink so I can solve all of my sorrowful mysteries. I think I know how plumbing works.

I hear a voice behind me repeating a name. She’s chanting it and her incantation grows more frustrated. She looks just like Whoopi Goldberg and she waves a syringe like a magic wand. The potion makes me tired. I am under her casted spell. One pinprick is all it takes to make me as weak as Sleeping Beauty.

No one is coming to rescue me, not from this dungeon. The nurse puts me to bed and I have a tiny epiphany before nightmares pull me away. The name she was reciting was mine.

*

The morning stings my eyes and the white coats clutter next to my bedside.

“It’s a miracle, isn’t it?” they say.

“What is?” I croak.

That you survived.”


*

I may have made it out alive but that doesn’t mean much. My memories of the entire ordeal have a way of taking me over. The walls will start to look as white as the hospital. A cobweb in the corner can take me right back to the window I once pressed my face to.

I see faces in my dreams and think they’re strangers. Then a week later a flash of lightning will strike my mind and I’ll remember a distorted face screaming to be let out. Sometimes it’s my own face. Sometimes it’s another mad one imprisoned.

I often wonder how they’re doing too.


Published by Jennifer Patino

Poet.