When I arrive, 30 minutes before opening,
the line, everyone six feet separate,
stretches past an ice cream shop and a donut shop
through an empty lot of lifeless weeds.
By 7:30 a.m., the line extends
down a side street, and people have brought lawn chairs.
The sun has risen, but the air is 22 degrees,
and my toes hurt. One must suffer,
one way or another, at the DMV.
We pilgrims are silent.
The man two people behind me tries three times
to get the man between us to admit his humanity
to chuckle, to confess, to agree,
but the man only grunts. He knows the rules:
it may be a sunny morning,
and Christ might have died for us,
but we are in line at the DMV.
As I planned my mission,
my husband asked me, “Can you imagine
working every day for forty years
at the DMV? Wouldn’t you hate people too?”
But a woman in a Carhartt coat
and warm, sturdy boots works the line.
She holds the book I brought about the Little Rock Nine
but am too frozen-fingered to open
as I check that I have the right paperwork.
She calls me honey, like I’m her beloved
niece and not some 46-year-old woman shivering
in the bright morning sun in an empty lot
on the morning of Good Friday.
I AM the Beloved
she serves at the DMV.