he stood at the door gripping blue bag of moose meat, and the light of the day shrunk back

he handed it and i smiled and talked and he nodded and it was all pleasant then he climbed into truck and the afternoon swallowed him

he’s angry, she tells me later, his wife and mother of baby, the one they’d waited for, eight years. it’s finally caught up with him, she says.

and it has nothing to do with his red hair and everything to do with a good God seeming bad.
for when you can’t go to God for hope, where do you turn?

they’d married young and he’d struggled to farm and harvest logs and when they weren’t working they prayed for a baby, near a decade, and when the answer finally came, she had a rare disorder, and she’s growing now and she’s slower now than the others and it’s finally hitting him, this father with the moose meat,

and i cry to her, his wife:

it doesn’t seem fair, that i would have such a healthy boy… having hurt my body the way i did. and you, having done nothing but pray…

that he would give us moose meat, knowing this injustice…

such grace in that blue bag.

others worry about him not returning to church, because church is everything here: and it’s beauty the way the combines halt at midnight, saturday, and the co-op closes and the traffic streams from every end of the world into the pews, but it’s not everything.

let him grieve, i whisper. God will find him. God will make himself known. God is bigger than our anger, our fears, our homeless sundays.

his wife and i break cookies over tea and her daughter stirs all pink and pudge and i look into her face, wonder at the life there, and know, in the end, in the long end, all broken and bleeding, all forsaken will be made whole, and the baby smiles.

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