Our Lady Dolly

Written with the prompts:  fear seized her, they are leaning out for love, limitation, levitation, lamentation, lemon station, afraid and curious, the boat moved, Dolores was Dolly to everyone else, they were driving her crazy, the loneliness, experience the thrill, fortune, feelings of dissociation, no risk, suffering, cheese and crackers

In a small mountain town where she had been declared patron saint, the tourists called Mary  Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Suffering, Our Lady of Dolor.  But the towns people called her “Dolly.”

The prayer cards, the rosaries, the tiny magnetized statues that fit on the dashboard of a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla—those all showed a dark haired, dark skinned woman with dark tears like gashes on her cheeks.  But in every home kitchen, every residential entryway, every night stand, the image was of a woman laughing, head tipped back, mouth open, eyes squinting in mirth.  These people knew their patroness, their saint, the joyous mother who’d known such horrific pain that there was nothing left to faze her.  She had lived through fear that seized her throat and gut, feelings of deep denial, dissociation bordering on levitation as she rose above to watch her own hands cradle the head of her dead son.  

She’d known limitations, lamentation, exodus at lemon station, the sour taste of isolation, the loneliness that nearly drove her crazy, the thrill of ecstatic union, the bounding back into mundane reality.  “There is no suffering like my suffering,” the scripture read, and yet every woman in the town knew it too.  It was Our Lady of Sorrows who appeared to each girl when she reached puberty to teach them a kind of laughter yoga, a flexing of the belly and breath.  “There is nothing left to risk,” was her motto, and they quietly whispered her encouragement to each other.  It’s alright to be afraid but be curious too.  The boat is moving, don’t miss this chance.  It is our great good fortune to be alive here and now as Our Lady Dolly leads us through a sad but fertile valley to an open sea, leaning toward love, leaning that way forever.  

Wine, crackers, cheese; and ice cream for dessert.

Photo by Gianna Bonello on Unsplash

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