Hagiography Over the course of 2017, Mary Margaret Sellers – named after both her grandmothers (neither of whom was a woman of repute) – stole: a women’s running shoe blue (the left one), a pair of elephant salt and pepper shakers, the change out of a “Ride This Buckin’ Bronco” machine in front of a 7-11, her copy of The End of the Affair back from her younger brother (Jacko), thirteen pink lawn flamingos, her mother’s Amazon Prime account password, a taxi from the elderly woman who was on her way to the bank, half a tank of gas (mostly accidently), $2.38 in coins out of a fountain, and a pair of denim overalls that turned out to have a rip in the rear. Mary Margaret confessed the stealing (along with quite a few other sins) at the Oratory of St. Juniper in Mission Park, NC. In the confessional, the priest – middle-aged, graying, but not yet tired of offering undue mercy – asked Mary Margaret to close her eyes and imagine Jesus sitting in front of her. How is he looking at you? What is in his eyes? Mary Margaret left haunted by what she saw in the light of that stained-glassed room. Time did not let her thefts go unanswered. Mary Margaret died at the age of 28 from pancreatic cancer. She was buried in the graveyard of the Oratory whose priests often find “borrowed” objects atop her gravestone: a too-small yellow raincoat, a weather-beaten copy of Brideshead, a broken bike lock, a chipped diner mug, the occasional candle from the Oratory’s offertory table. St. Mary Margaret’s devotees celebrate her feast day by leaving loose change on the window sills of their neighbors.
Mallory Nygard lives and writes in East Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared in Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith and Ever Eden Literary Journal. Her poem ‘Song of Sarajevo’ was named Best in Show at the 2021 Rehumanize International Create | Encounter. Her first collection of poetry, Pelican, was released in 2021.