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Heaven Takes Away


Back then... †

Granny had said that I was a particular child. †
How I spent too much time questioning all †
of the unreasonable things. †
That I was tiresome to her, †
when she'd take me to church, and †
I wouldn't sit still while listening †
to the nonsense of some mortal man †
on a stage. †
†  
Because I could talk to God anytime, †
without that interpreter giving me †
his own version. †
I'd tell granny, God doesn't see it that way. †
She'd just shush me, sometimes handing me †
a half-stick of gum to occupy my time. †
†  
I'd chew silently then, and stare †
up at the crucifix behind the preacher. †
I knew, that wasn't exactly how †
or why it all happened. †
God had no direct descendants, and †
Jesus was too much of a loud mouth,  
without a grandmother to silence him with gum. †
†  
As a child, I also didn't understand †
why the church called my family "dirt poor". †
We had plenty of it. †
My brother and I wore it like a cloak, †
and we'd blend with the creatures at dusk. †
Confusing any wild animals †
that may have lurked along the trails †
that cut through the woodlines †
that we'd venture through. †
-Safer than streets, or sidewalks. †
(We heard stories of missing kids, from town). †
†  
But we never worried; No one wanted us. †
Not even our mother. †
-My dad had told me that I was a difficult birth †
and mom never recovered. †
I figured ten years would've been enough, †
but no. I'd check on her and she'd still overlook me, †
even as I flicked lit matches onto her bed. †
†  
Not really, it was just a thought. †
Like the other ideas, that tried †
to rip themselves out of my head. †
I suppose it was God, who'd tell me no, †
that's not the way she will be leaving. †
†  
But dad went first. Surrounded by his demon friends. †
As invisible as they were loud. †
He was too tired to fight them, by then. †
He had insisted that we burn him. †
Leave nothing, he had begged. †
But I took a few things. †
His knife; I'd fight back, like †
the little terror mom claimed that I was. †
†  
My friend, Pelki, a Jewish kid, †
(but I didn't care what team †
he was assigned to), he died. †
We were all playing by the tower †
and lightning struck the roof. †
-I felt my bones vibrate, I felt †
my fingers extend into blue branches. †
†  
Pelki was now sleeping on the ground. †
As perfect as he was seconds ago. †
†  
Losing a friend like that †
wasn't the same as moving away, †
when we could always hope †
that they'd have a good life further on. †
But not like this. †
Like this, hope is buried with them. †
And their book is closed. †
Any stories of them, good or bad, †
will stay that way. †
†  
Like my dad's story... †
Mom always called him a bastard, †
but I had read him differently. †
He was a broken crow, †
always wishing to fly away, †
but his directions were just circles. †
I was glad for that, †
even if I could see his eyes †
always focusing on a yonder sky. †
It wasn't so selfish, to want my dad to stay? †
†  
Pelki's mom was a quiet neighbor. †
No music, no TV, no barking dog. †
No children. †
I'd cut her grass, bringing a roar †
to her days, for five dollars. †
But I think I would have done it for free by then. †
Just to sit with her, in the vast silence  
of her kitchen. While she baked bread and pies, †
just to give them to the truly needy-hungry. †
†  
I'd pretend that she adopted me. †
And even though we looked nothing alike, †
I'd tell everyone that she was my mom. †
-That I wasn't dark-skinned †
because lightning had bleached me. †
†  
That she accepted me, still, as is. †
†  
Sometimes, she'd pull my head back †
by my sweaty hair, just to kiss †
my forehead. †She'd tell me that †
I was a good kid, that I'd be †
a good man someday. †
And to stay away from the tower. †
†  
I wanted to tell her, †
I climbed to the top of it, every day. †
Where I'd wait; †
God owed me, so many explanations. †
†  
All I ever saw, though, were birds. †
Some leaving, some circling. †
†  
One, a crow. Always around, †
watching me, protesting, †
not letting me †
look down. †
†  
†  
~~~ †
Written by Styxian
Published | Edited 18th Feb 2024
Author's Note
Live life.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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