Not everything comes back. The rescue dog
that bolted out the kitchen door (you joked
he didn’t want salvation); memories
of how it was before your father left
(he said he wasn’t going far, his face
expressionless, at least you thought it was);
and even Jesus, all of us on earth
still waiting here, praying. So when he said
the cancer had returned, no wonder you
refused to listen to the doctor, ran right out
into the waiting room. Everyone looked
up from whatever they were reading with
blank stares, pretending it would be okay.
That night, your mother called and said we should
come back to Jesus, pray to him, just like
she did when she felt hopeless and alone.
I guess that’s what I’m doing now, although
I know you’re dead and you’re not coming back.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.