I misread the Methodist sign board
as I pass the church. I think
it says Jesse wants to help you. Will
you let him? Part of the problem is
I’m reading it from peripheral vision,
from a car speeding past it too fast
to take a good look. It actually says
Jesus wants to help you. Will you
let him? I am more interested when
I think someone named Jesse is
offering help. Before I learn the truth,
I begin to elevate Jesse to a higher level
of human being, thinking he is at least
a do-gooder if not an outright altruist. Yet,
how can the holy proposition contain
a commoner? Until I recognize my mistake,
I want to meet Jesse, ask him just how
he plans to save the world. The thing is
how much instant faith I have in someone
I don’t even know just because his name
appears on the church marquee.

Maybe all belief begins with a mistake.
My mistake is innocent. I don’t mean
to slight Jesus. It’s just that hope skewered
on a split second while I thought someone
new was filling in for Mary’s son. The next
time I passed the church, I drove slower,
saw that God was not moving someone else
into Jesus’s place.

The question is would I have trusted anyone
whose name happened to be on the marquee?
Check it off as an unholy error or, better yet,
a renewal of confidence in common man.

R. Nikolas Macioci earned a PhD from The Ohio State University. OCTELA, the Ohio Council of Teachers of English, named Nik Macioci the best secondary English teacher in the state of Ohio. Nik is the author of two chapbooks as well as six books: More than two hundred of his poems are published internationally.