Illustration by Pedro Gomes


Not like you think, but yes, he’s upside down.
St. Joseph faces my childhood window.

The internet says he should face
what must be moved.

My mom buried him 20 years ago to sell our house.
I use the same trowel to plant seeds in the garden.

There must be something to it,
holy intervention,

because the grass where he’s buried
stays green when July browns the fields.

But the house never sold & the only one
who hasn’t stopped moving is me.

My mom prays to St. Anthony when I don’t text back.
She believes in woo woo like I trust in vanishing points.

I pack her remedies with me wherever I go.
I’ve beckoned St. Anthony when love is lost

& I can’t be found. In church
I read Revelations, as a kid, while everyone prayed the rosary.

Forgive me, mother, for I often forget to text back.
Glory be to the suitcase, the postcard, & care package.

I buy a St. Christopher medal for my partner
when his flights get cancelled three times in a row.

I know I should dig St. Joseph up,
but some things are better unmoved.

A novena candle melted in my car, the pink wax filled each corner
of a cardboard moving box & honeycombed the bubble wrap.

Our Lady of Perpetual Wandering,
should I settle like this wax or overflow?

Laura Villareal

Laura Villareal, a 2020-2021 Stadler Fellow and a National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critic, earned her MFA at Rutgers University–Newark. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, AGNI, and elsewhere. Girl's Guide to Leaving, her debut collection, is set to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in Spring 2022.