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The Prodigal


ISSUE:  Spring 2012

Yes, the winds must have picked up, they must have
slowed the motion of the car or the other one that missed
the red light. Not strong enough, these winds, to have
kept either car out of the intersection, but enough …
When I go back, when I return to the scene, I am

18 and worried. I was always worried, the thing
inside me growing, the “unnatural” urge to take
a man’s face in my hands and kiss his mouth
almost violently. And maybe God knew this.
Maybe God wanted to show me death is death

whether by accident, by fire, or by festering disease.
But for those three minutes, the world broke from
its axis, and the intoxicated woman missed
the light. There was the sound of breaking glass
and the smell of burning rubber, and then deep sleep.

I go back. I go back to watch myself materialize in the bed,
to watch the panic on my face, the halo with its nails in my head
something monstrous and beautiful like the very workings
of god. I was not dead. I would eventually move, this body,
this world, returned to its almost original axis.

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