Miguel's Fence

by Rudis Muiznieks

There was a knot on Miguel's fence that everyone said looked like Jesus. To me it looked more like an owl. I could see Miguel's back yard from my room, and sometimes I'd look out and see him just staring at the knot for hours.

Miguel's mom told everyone if you pressed your ear against the knot, Jesus would tell you special secrets. Miguel was too scared to try, but his mom did it all the time--usually after I heard her fighting with Miguel's dad. My parents told me he was an alcoholic. They whispered it, even though we were in our own house. I wondered if they were worried that Jesus might hear and spill the beans to someone.

One night, about a week after Miguel and his mom went away, I crawled under the fence and walked over to the knot. When I placed my ear against it, all I could hear was an owl hooting somewhere in the cold moonlit night.