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What the child finds in snow is what a ship finds in the sea, a wake left behind, a froth that sinks back into itself everyone else waiting for the return, the full hold,
the grain come again, the hosannas which are prayers to plenty. The child knows nothing of this. He has been sent out to play and has discovered misery.
He is learning that the footsteps he finds in snow are his and his alone. How sweet his lament,
this silence in the negative world of cold.
It is a kind of perfect mutiny, everyone waiting and him knowing there will be no return.
If he were a priest he would say:
This is the end of the first lesson.
THE FIRST TIME
The first time
I saw a chicken run headless across the yard
I wanted to do it too
I wanted to kill something so perfectly it would live
I would like to have dinner with the man who didn't follow Christ, the one who,
when Jesus said Follow me and I
will make you fishers of men, decided to go fishing instead, getting in his boat,
pushing out from shore, his nets clean and repaired, thinking I will have to work even harder now in order to feed everyone left behind. I would like to sit on the beach with him in front of a careful fire,
his wife and children asleep,
sharing a glass of wine, both of us telling stories about what we've done with our lives, the ones we caught,
the ones that got away.