Thomas Thatcher

aly n her man

I go to the basement for coffeehour with the rest of the parish and meet a married couple. It’s their first time at our church. Aly is 22. And her man is 23. Her husband is 4 years younger than me. And so it hurts. I’m pain—Coveting what he has.
            My sin is always before me. I pray to be rid of my way of being around. Here—with bluebrown eyes on me—I can’t. My sin burns. My skin aflame. How did her Lutheran mother meet her Orthodox father. I talk to her about her. And I feel my chest and head burn,

Have you heard of the Hoxie house.
No I haven’t. My boss is really picky.

            She hasn't. I look at her man. I look at Aly.

Your boss picked you.
He did. He asks a lot too. I’m tired of sketching narrow staircases.

            She’s tired of sketching narrow staircases.

I like Capt. Elijah Cobb’s house. Have you heard of his house.
No I haven’t.

              She hasn’t.

                I tell her don’t despair but I can’t keep watch for more than an hour without falling asleep1.

            Flooding my lungs with wood-tip Black&Mild. Poor guy. I don’t want the life of Aly’s man. Everything about that morning reminds me how ungrateful I am. I don’t want someone else’s mother to be my mother. Is it really not the same.
            I send shots about my own. And for the life of my mother, brother, and sister. I’d die for them and while I’m gone, continue to protect them. I’m waiting for my boy, looking for his white Cherokee, I whistle with my birds.

            Randall grabs the guns and I get the compressor. Our labor brings fruit. And so I fall asleep too much, I can’t pick any. Father says be more careful. Watchful too. Lord, empty me of this darkened liquor. Bring my impassionate soul to do good works. Let me pass the rest of my life without blemish—With your aid.

            At work I load the pistol with 6” nails. From the ladder, leaning on the south wall of the house, I can see the ocean. I can surrender at any time and sink to the bottom.

            Flooding my lungs with salt water. And I hear the hymn of 10’s of thousands of cherubim and the Archangels and everything there in the heavens above me. What I want is in the higher sky2. I know I’m flying. But what I want is to break——

            I get in my truck and the smell of pinched Maverick cigarettes and open redbull brings me joy. I take off my shirt and tie it around my head. I go to the lot and turn towards the ocean. I park. Unrecognizable, I finish my bull.

1 Matthew 26:43-45

2“Fly Higher” - Organ Tapes