Roy Bentley

The Faithful Account of How, in the Chill of October-Ohio, a Sweet Corn Queen Thanks Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Maybe she is Midwest-beautiful, but if the
Mormons had their way, she’d be Head Wife
and advocate praying for the souls of the dead.

The Catholics are a whole other order of angel.
And the Baptists who speak of Hell, forgetting
Perdition has more than one zip code, including

this one. She’s riding in a Caddy with local-hero
driver, hand-lettered posterboard placard-signage
giving the whys and wherefores for the hullabaloo.

When the Cadillac stops, she accepts a microphone.
It doesn’t hurt she has abundant breasts more than
temperamentally suited to Celebrity Star Status—

Crest 3D Whitening Strips bleached teeth flash,
a reminder that here, in Ohio, Beauty is a woman
tugging down her mini-skirt-length dress, waving.

She’s handed a bouquet of roses. Steps up to thank
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, drawing applause
and handing off the mic. She climbs back in the car

to a refrain of small dogs on studded leashes barking
as if to warn of dangers nearer at hand than any hell.

Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, chosen by Billy Collins as finalist for the Miller Williams poetry prize; Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, chosen by John Gallaher as winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize; as well as My Mother’s Red Ford: New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020 published by Lost Horse Press. Poems have appeared in North American Review, Southern Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, New Ohio Review, and Prairie Schooner among others. His latest is “Beautiful Plenty” (Main Street Rag).