Once, I choked on my own sorrow while the river overran its banks. Water did not need to rise inside of my own house to feel like I was drowning. On television, friends wheeled a woman who could not walk into a boat as she left her four-legged companion, Rocket, to fare on his own. Certainly, God knew about this in the days previous: he knew about the abandonment of Rocket, the relentless, unforgiving rains, the slow weeping of the sky marked out in a heavy-handed red pencil on the Franklin planner of time.

How did Moses save his people? A thought occurs: those who deign to save others may not always wear armor, for how can you save room in the boat for the bricks and mortar of grief you will use to rebuild the world? I began to rehearse: a practiced smile, a measured walk. Be a good boy. Have hope. Help — if you can. Love, but don’t hurt yourself. Assume that God is a man.

Operating words.

Later that evening, I dreamed of a desert on fire, and there was little Rocket, patiently waiting with the rest of the world on his mistress’ roof. I could have sworn he was smiling, not because it was the truth of his despair but because that’s what good boys do.



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