an RV in the narrow streets of New Orleans is not a wise thing and just outside of St. James on the near side to Rolla he follows a few steps behind his father’s brother shirtless a .22 slung over his right shoulder the stained and stretched blue jeans loose below the belly fat the love handles of white skin only the face the neck the arms below the elbows tanned the worn jeans falling over slender hips and skinny buttocks the tightie whities in need of bleach butt crack showing and from his left hand at his side dangles the lifeless body of a dead squirrel and the sun don’t shine on that day the moss don’t grow they just emerged from the forest into the field but something snapped and he had a sense of direction then so in the dew dusk of summer twilight Rhett called Punk has his truck there and Lonnie his father the brother the uncle they use a sledgehammer to right a truck bed door badly mangled from distemper loading two hundred pound bales of hay and Lonnie bangs away (still shirtless a generic cigarette dangling from puckered lips his face permanent in the features of something sour) his father the brothers joining in the inventive cursing of cousin and nephew while he (who I knew now) stands in the truck bed also smoking standing there tall above the cursing and the connection of metal on metal Lonnie laughing in his cursing (in fact they are all in a good mood) and with cigarette in the corner of his mouth Lonnie says: I’ll be damned if we don’t get her what you think Jim? Shit now girl! Come on! Cum or bleed! and what is love that is righteous? yes I knew him from his father from what his father came from that long debate of ourselves and the world where we so easily trade love wanting to be loved by something else something out of our reach something imagined some faceless audience when love is right there in present company family children dead fathers living mothers friends and once lovers the people you run into in your routines and errands your coworkers the stranger trying to make eye contact this love this love given to us so that we may see tears the fulfillment from our own cries of loneliness this love do we know for love cannot truly be love if it is not a love which is righteous so that it knows your heart He knew their hearts and what is the heart of Man if not a deceitful and desperately wicked thing… and before the deer hunt the night before Hazel gone to work night shift just the men the brothers and his senior year of high school Lonnie brings it out—the porn—chicks with dicks and other weird scenarios the brothers watch with Luzianne iced tea his father doesn’t smoke Lonnie keeps turning his head to see their reaction with guffaws his lips chompin’ absent of teeth and they talk of women and whores they knew when they were boys and in the guest bedroom that night he tries to sleep knowing at 4am they go to the deer stand who being equal with God did not consider it a thing to be grasped instead taking the form of a servant his momma inside that RV yelling Jim! Jim! as his father blocks traffic clambering up to the roof to lower the forgotten antennae more inventive cursing but this not in a good mood his momma with bible and prayer books and those old eight tracks of gospel saying You have to know him to have his mind because you can talk about God the Father and intelligent design spiritual forces of good and evil but you gotta know Him you gotta know Jesus who is righteous and who loved… they kiss (his father says he will kiss Jesus) they kiss in brotherly love Lonnie all in tubes and needles unshaven and bedridden the cancer too late and too fast his father already a year into his chemo his hair all fallen out they kiss as brothers and his father prays and Lonnie dies the next day and his father a week later the day after Christmas no it will not be a good day a good for some who do not defer only to capitulate when every knee shall bow and tongue confess the love the role of servant the lamb who was slain now the face of a lion the countenance of a king… righteous this duality and can you fathom it O my soul turned to the face of one whose love never fails yet is righteous there is no evil in it righteous in the sin it can’t condone a mind quietly watchful of your next move and where it leads there ahead of you waiting gently saying Don’t do it… and it’s over it was settled long ago over but here here with me now in seeing in his eyes the eyes of his father and all the pain…

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