Two Days Later

Two days later, I’m on the tractor, talking to the wind about you, wishing that this crop of doubts that has grown up in my mind would disappear like the grass I’m mowing down.

The bushog bangs and I am listening to the echo of Daddy’s gunshot in my brain. I stand beside him under the carport in the darkness of a summer night as he places the flashlight on the barrel of the 22 and sights along the beam at the white flash of the armadillo who’s been getting into our garden. I hear the THUMP as the wounded animal bounces off the bushog parked in the field and then in a flash he’s gone before the echo of the shot dies away.

“I never knew one could move so fast,” Daddy says. He levers another shell into the gun and goes out to the pasture to look for him.

We found him the next day, dead, curled up at the edge of the woods just outside the hole that was his home. Dad said, “I guess I got him.”

Thirty years and two days later, I’m standing here, looking down at this armadillo, at the hole in his shell, feeling my armor crack within as you wrap your arms tightly around me again.

I am no soothsayer. These bones at the feet of my memory will not tell me a thing. I don’t know if it’s my faith or my doubts they’re showing.

I’m just a man on a tractor, talking to the wind about you, mowing.

Written June 3, 2000

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