Pulling out, Johnny almost hits the old nun.
Her blue habit flapping in the breeze. The sun
catching the stubble on her chin, the deeply
etched creases in her forehead. Her mouth
is a dark oval of terror and time
stops. Her feet don’t move. I wonder, did she see
the silver grille of Johnny’s beat-up Honda?
Or did she see God? Did she think, Saints
preserve me, or just, Oh, shit! Did she feel her soul
float to heaven on a cloud? Or did she hear
brakes squealing? For a moment, did she know
what everything means? Tell me, sister. Tell me,
why is it, in my dreams, your face
is no longer wrinkled, red, or scared,
Photo Credit: Marc Samsom Flickr via Compfight cc
Paula R. Hilton is a novelist who explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, and NPR’s This I Believe, as well as in a number of literary journals, including The Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Hilton’s debut novel, Little Miss Chaos, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit. The novel was also a short-listed finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and selected as a 2016 Best Indie Teen Read by Kirkus. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and daughter and is working on Daphne and the Delirious Girls, her second book for young adults.