My father would have turned 72 today. He taught me about grace during the year we spent together, waiting for a lung. Sometimes we snuck away from the hospital and went fishing. “If I’m going to die,” he said, “I might as well die outside doing something.” We played long games of chess while we waited for the phone to ring. I came across a picture of him as a little boy that feels like a fragment from a dream. Maybe it’s the blue spoon.

After losing someone, maybe the soul goes one of two ways: it hardens into a scar or maybe or it can . . . I don’t have the words to finish this thought.

Meanwhile, our president has escaped the hospital, and he’s hopped up on steroids and sneering without a mask while the networks scramble to figure out who he’s infected. He’s telling people the virus isn’t that bad. It’s the fountain of youth, in fact. “I feel better than I did twenty years ago!” he says, spitting on the graves of over two hundred thousand dead. Any compassion I’d tried to muster for another human being who was ailing has turned to dust.

For a moment my eyes flick to the ceiling, and I’m almost thankful my parents aren’t here to see what’s happened to the world. As if I’m doing something wrong just by living in such an embarrassing time.


Flying Saucer Attack – Dust

Mirror | Drag City, 2000 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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