The road is a trustless disciple this winter, so I drive like I learned to pray—with piston loose and mouthing oil, tires bruxing cardinal bones, where I’ve been that still won’t let me go. I never tried the psalms my mother whispered just to know how she tasted them. The summer I left home, she waited for night to pour gasoline on a nest of wasps, take her lighter to the canopy’s underbelly, force me to watch. It could have been a paper lantern glutted with lightning bugs, for the flood of bodies surging past the closure of pulp toward a heaven sugared by her lesson or cruelty. The next morning I stuttered over each like a fledgling lexicon, not knowing which lived and which, smoke-fragile, lay waiting, by instinct’s pull or my own wordlessness, for how I too might forsake them.
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