In 565 A.D., as Columba, the Patron Saint of Poets, Floods, and Bookbinders prepared to cross the River Ness, he came upon men folding their dead friend into peaty earth — killed, they said, by the bite of a giant water beast. Columba was the kind of guy who drove demons out of milk pails, so when the beast rose from the waters and heathens trembled on the Scottish shore, Columba chastised the beast, telling her to “go back with all speed.” She fled from his liquid voice and the Loch Ness monster never killed again. Eighteen hundred sightings later, some surmise she’s a Plesiosaur, a hoax, a giant eel, a long-necked seal.
When she surfaced in ‘34 and got snagged in a grainy photo, looking like a witch’s hat — just the crooked tip emerging — the legend unleashed, rippled murky down the Scottish Highlands through childhoods, stirring dreams, and eating sheep.
Wind blows and forty years later, the cold waters reach Kalamazoo. A girl, Patron Saint of Nothing, rescues Nessie from the newspaper and scotch tapes the monster to the inside of her closet door. Here, Nessie makes her lair. Years go by. Nessie curls and yellows, hanging on by only a brittle tooth of tape. Still up to her old tricks, she’s a finger now, bent, beckoning the girl to believe. Currents shift and the girl whooshes away down the street. Nessie slips back into hiding. The nest grows old men’s clothes. Push aside vines of ties and breathe in the dank. As wire bones rattle, press finger to fossilized print of tooth. Believe.
At least once a year, Jennifer Clark's dreams are rattled by the Loch Ness monster.
Her website is jenniferclarkkzoo.com.