Eternity #4: Thieves

In the last thirty seconds, it will have been more like dreaming than dying. A woman with glass skin and an issue of blood. A herd of pigs, grazing in an orchard by a gleaming sea.

Your oldest son runs past you when he was a boy. Your daughter fallen from a chair in the library and she's whispering to herself it’s okay, it’s okay, it's okay. Your youngest is on your shoulders, his heels bouncing gently on your chest, his small hands holding your hair.

You see your wife talking with a better man than you, and your heart staggers in your chest like a beaten fighter.

In the last seconds, the thief on the left is you saying, “America, I wish to make the following statements.” The one on the right is your mother, saying what she’s been saying since your father died.

إذا تمكنت من العثور على الخريطة ، يمكنني العودة إلى المنزل    

If I could find the map, I could leave.

Do not go gentle, Gentile.

Say something to your wife before you forget how. Neither married nor given in marriage. That’s rich, tell her, coming from the world’s most desirable bachelor. Tell her you love her. Tell her to ignore Him. Or that, at least. Hold her arm and leave her these instructions: when she gets to heaven you will have to find each other from the corner of the eye, as you once had to do to see certain stars, as thieves learn to do in the dark.

Tell her that one day there’ll be a barefoot gardener in a herringbone suit, waiting for the California afternoon to cool. He’ll be bright and fleeting as light off a watch face. He’ll have photos of your children in his pockets and Essene scraps of these forlorn poems no one ended up liking. But he wrote them for you. To preserve everything he remembers of everything that will have now been between you forever.

In the last seconds, you tell her all this. You tell her she’s the love of your life. You release her arm from your grip.  

She pauses. She smiles at you, but uncertainly.

She's still holding your hand, but she's looking at Jesus, and Jesus is looking at her.

They hesitate. They're deciding which one will break the news.

Bird Report

Early December in Malaiseville: a single, absurd seagull in a muddy corn field. No ocean in sight. An allegory. Wrong turn after wrong turn. Now what?