After Her Prayer: something beautifully strange

Standing quietly, a daddy watches as his son sleeps. You see, it was not too long ago that this handsome child faced death. An unknown form of cancer first attacked his right and then his left lung, however, Johnny survived. The doctors were at a loss to explain the origins of the disease; they knew not from where it came, but the horror had found a host inside the boy’s body. Weeks passed without improvements, and as the child’s condition worsened, even hope, it seemed, was left without a comforting place.

Then one night: something happens, something beautifully strange.

A woman enters Johnny’s hospital room, she is unknown to the nursing staff; and of course, to the boy’s family. She seems demure, but then who could tell, really. Strolling across the floor, she slightly glances over at Johnny, and then makes eye contact with his parents. Un-remarkably, she says, “Hello, I am Joanna,” but offers no last name. A lovely cloak lightly graces her thin shoulders; although something of her assures strength, power, presence. Hello, says the child’s parents, and then asks Joanna what she wants, here.

The physiognomy of this woman is precise; she appears as poured from archaic molds, creatively constructed by the ancients. Nothing seems left to chance. Surely, any man knowing her tenderness is the envy to any woman with imagination. To every eye, fleeting glances are merely phrases.

Speaking quietly, softly, Joanna explains, “Your son’s sickness alerted me, and I want to help him.” Naturally, Johnny’s parents are reluctant to permit a stranger closeness to their son; and yet, after attentively listening to her, and appreciating that the woman desires only to pray for him, Nigel and Julia relent; however, they feel and exact caution. The woman is closely observed.

Leaning nearer to the sick boy: Joanna extends her hands above his chest; after which, she halts, looking to the boy’s father. Holding out her palms, she then asks that daddy rests his palms inside hers. Reluctantly, the man follows her instructions. Immediately, Johnny’s dad withdraws his hands, the woman’s palms are quite warm, although not of a burning warmth; still, the sensation surprised Nigel, caught him off guard, but then shaking it off, he replaces his palms.

“Yes,” Joanna says, “you feel the warmth.” The woman demonstrates such comfort, and confidence, so much so that Johnny’s parents relax, and then believe that they feel, perhaps, what this strange woman feels. Placing her hands atop the boy’s chest, the mysterious woman softly speaks. Some words are unfamiliar, of a different, and archaic language and others are in English.

After her prayer, Joanna opens her eyes, leans closely, and then lightly kisses Johnny’s right cheek; as she gently presses his forid, with her opposing hand. “I must go, now.” “Bless you.” Uncertain as to whether they briefly looked away, and in a blink, it seems, the woman no longer stands before them.

The event occurred three years ago; and his loving parents, his family and friends have the strange woman to thank for Johnny’s health; and because he comfortably rests at home. The boy’s team of doctors remains amazed by what “…appears as good fortune, and luck.” Such events, imply the doctors, have little to do with “… ‘mere prayer,’ anything foreign to medical science.”

Somehow: The strange woman departed, unseen; additionally, the Elevators never arrived to the floor. Nigel, and Julia feel deeply indebted to Joanna, the woman is outstanding, special and because the boy’s parents ‘believe,’ they wonder, “Could she be ‘more’ than special?” In her memory, Julia scripted a poem; it hangs above Johnny’s bed:



Of you, I seek compassion
Your shoulders bear my weight
Eyes forever watching
Your smile endures my fate

To life, you are mysterious
To me a hand to hold
My sunshine every morning
My cover when I’m cold

Troubles are your homeland
Sorrows dark and deep
Your love consoles my pillow
My dreams in restful sleep

The mother to a daughter
Alone you raise the son
If lost and needing hope
To you our spirits run

Hunger understands you
Thirst you pacify
Desire to help commands you
To you all children cry

In church, I often see you
Your stare a glancing gaze
Stillness speaks of wonder
You light my nights my days

In school you sit beside me
At lunch, you share my food
Forever I can call you
You’re always in the mood

Outside: The pleasant roar of the rains, the artistic crackle of thunder wrinkles the fabric. Lightning brilliantly, beautifully paints the skies; and beneath it all a son peacefully sleeps as his father, watches.

Copyright (c) 2003-2017 Delbert H. Rhodes

Armani Model

By Delbert H. Rhodes

giorgioarmaniimageShe walks along the runway, and I watch her; her hair flowing and perfectly prepared. Its luster radiantly dazzles the eyes: each fiber combed and caressed by the architects of style. Her lips purse with touches of red, beige, or black. Ten rainbows embrace her hands displaying splendid coloration. The colors tease illuminating sexually.

The room becomes warmer. The jewels kissing her finger round neck are fragile, tasteful and wanton. The pearls they bare speak to deep seas and deeper mysteries. Her smiles tenderly ask, “Am I affecting you?” “Are you awed?” I think, yes. I watch her as she moves with technique and the industry’s grace.

She is confident and I am curious. I wonder why it has to be that way; and why she must appear so gaunt. I ask me questions without solid answers. Maybe, I think, I should enjoy the show, and surrender to the process. After all, they are the experts and who am I?

Seductively, the human mask, the thriving mannequin captivates me. Look there in the window, she moves. Although emaciated she is beautiful and I think I adore her. Oh, yes, she is pretty. Then she pivots, waits, smiles, and then looks, at me. Does she truly see me? Truly? She opens the garment displaying its inner skins. I think the material is fabulous simply lovely –Fine, Pure, Expensive.

The Armani model thin and rail-like, a tree’s limb. The limb reaching, branching out, the broken limb about to fall, the limb lying on the ground-a twig I toss into the hearth, to warm the fire. Her gait is artificial the leg lift robotic. The knees seem as though lifted by tight string, the feet heavily rise, and then fall to the floor; like the hooves of horses. Yes, she walks like a horse. I wait to hear the whinny, but instead she pauses.

She smiles and then spins returning down the runway–Clop, Clop, Clop. Her garment trails to music of tiny cross threads, the sleek fabric mindful of water trickling over skeletal stones. I envision an Ice Cream Cone straining beneath its milky flesh. The cone, and its fingers quickly covered by sticky droplets, a lusting tongue consumed by pleasure.

The woman captivates me. She is Syren, Aphrodite and Medusa. Behold: the lure of men, the envy of the gods, and a beacon of destruction. Alas, the woman is impressive and whatever her flavor, I think, ‘Delicious.’

Copyright © 2006 Delbert H. Rhodes