they look so happy. They could be one big family.
They look alike, dark hair, happy eyes. Two uncles maybe
hold the corners of the Jesus Loves You banner,
a homemade, but well-made, thing, gold
on black, though everyone holds up their own
signs, to the littlest, and their own messages,
slight variations on the theme, raised higher
upon each passage, like the announcement
of a carwash, with that urgency and direction of wanting
to be seen and heeded. I never know quite what to do or say
in return. I don’t not love Jesus, though I doubt
I am the proper target of his love, at least as this family
might see me, a heathen as open to polyamory
as the love of God’s only begotten son, though I do
unto others, do love my neighbor, do turn the other cheek,
cherish the meek, reckon the chances of entering heaven
on camels, rich men, and needles’ eyes. What do they want
not just of me, but of every last soul in Santa Rosa, who finds
him or herself here on this Saturday, when the sun shines down
on their fervency? Do they want people to slam on their brakes
and abandon their cars, engines running and doors open to join
the flock? To leave their errands undone (laundry soap
and the indoor flood lamp 100 watt lightbulb)?
I look to the youngest girl to see if she’s bored or what,
but when she sees me see her, her eyes shine.
What she’s offering me is more than just a Hi
that connects (I did this too at her age, stood and waved
until someone noticed me and hailed me
on their way to the rest of their lives), it’s a gift
of pure truth, as she’s drawn it herself in rainbows and
Magic Markers. When I flash her an un-ironic peace sign,
she and the rest of her family or flock shout, Peace
Be With You, Sister, and I ride off with it being so.