Kingdom of Reversal
Nine years ago we put off talk of dreams. They held hands whispering as they walked out back. She prayed and prayed for us to grow in prayer. We embraced, strong as cinders, weak as stone. Late-night worries reached us accidentally on purpose. Be civil. Call the nurse. Plan for next week, but not the holidays. Don’t be impolite. Experiments and miracles kept him with us. He went out back again with prayers and his shotgun, up a tree with a rosary. Counting decades as a finch slants across the yard. A bothered crow croaks and takes a languid hop onto the westward breeze. Still alive, he killed again, quick and clean, said it felt good to get one this year. I dragged it from the woods, watched him tug the knife along the brown and white coat, saw his cold palms and ring patterned with blood as morning frost shone on the bare trees and pasture. Oncology helped land that healthy doe as much as Remington and God above. We, too, steadied him to make that final shot. At dawn looking across his land these days, I think I see things. In some moments it feels nice to think I may now know more. Survival is no pure triumph. It simply shapes the number of our days.
Matthew Jakubowski‘s fiction is forthcoming from Numero Cinq and he’s written for various journals, such as gorse, 3:AM Magazine, The Kenyon Review Online, and The Paris Review Daily. He edits the interviews section for Asymptote, maintains a blog at truce, and lives in West Philadelphia. Follow him @matt_jakubowski