St. Mary’s When Flannery O’Connor sat in church she sometimes thought about the captive bear across the river in his little cage inside the kiddie zoo in City Park. His being there where children stopped to stare in mirth or pity must fill out a page that needed filling. Still, one had to search for words. To cast their beams into the dark. The proper angle, always hard to gauge, one hair’s breadth off was certain to besmirch a certainty essential to the care of every soul. You had to mind each mark. A comma out of place might damn this town. Grant mercy, she thought, eyeing Mary’s crown.
Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism and co-editor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song, a third edition of which was issued in 2019. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Rolling Stone, and many other magazines. A selection of his poems titled The Mirror Test will be published by MadHat Press in February 2022. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.