in my dreams, I enter a Cathedral
and Mary waves back. Gothic statues
were made of oak and marble: she is
shifting stone. Saints surround. In the
corner of my eye, I see her wink.
Devotion depends on the subject:
old Catholics called her the Queen of
Heaven. Protestant Reformation diverges
from the past: Calvin and Luther argue
for lower praise. Evangelicals say she
deserves no elevated privilege. But
doctrine shifts over time, a high and
low tide of the conquerors and the
conquered, and I wonder if there is
an alien species who will one day
impose their own beliefs upon us,
one where Mary doesn’t exist at all.
In Central Park, I pray to twenty-nine
statues: Hans Christian and his ugly
duckling, Alice and her White Rabbit,
the Angels atop the Bethesda.
They don’t wink back.
I enter the Cathedral and pray
Natalie Hampton is a junior at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in the Creative Writing Department. She has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Harris County Department of Education, the Young Poets Network, the Pulitzer Center, and Ringling College of Art and Design. She serves as an editor at Polyphony Lit and Cathartic Literary Magazine.