American Benediction

by Tony Gruenewald

After William Eggleston‘s, Untitled (Girl with Red Hair, Biloxi, Mississippi), 1974

With a folded offering 
clutched in her hand,
she gazes heavenward 
as she awaits the arrival of 
her roadside eucharist. 

She waits at the communion rail
and watches her burger 
sizzle to consecration
as her paper chalice 
is filled with sacramental 
sweet tea 

while her hair, 
blazing red, is lit with
the Holy Spirit.

Tony Gruenewald is the author of the poetry collections, The Secret History of New Jersey (Northwind 2009) and Honk (Kelsay Books 2021). For more about him and his work, visit

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