...

I lit a candle at St. Barnabas with my Masonic Zippo, clacked it shut, a deathless echo, retreated to the pew that had been in my family for four generations. Actually two, three, something like that but I always follow my mother’s plus-one rule. Spring sat down next to me, smelling of freshly tilled earth and phloem. She asked who my prayer was for, as if it’d duh obviously been about her but let’s be coy for a couple of minutes so she can pretend to be in a romantic comedy scripted by committee. I said, “Pretty much none of your particular beezwax.” And she pressed me, still playing, linking her arm through mine, freckled, a stream of earthworms and centipedes and pollen and thorns, and I said, “Winter, OK? You happy now? And now it’s going to be rejected since I told you so it doesn’t matter anymore anyway so way to go, thanks.” And she drew back, glared, gathered up her dress and paraded past the stained glass windows. I unknotted my tie, undid the top button, but it was too late, the heat was already unbearable. “Two bits for a swig a that, padre,” I said to the guy manning the holy water and he pretended to laugh.

fireland