Another day chasing another dollar.
Fist clenched on a wad of dirty bills
as it labors to break through a rocky, rooty surface
after a 30-something year slumber
piled under tons of earth and rubble.
A deadly escape of sorts, a mecca
compared to the mindless robotics of the living,
sipping on bean water
to keep our eyes plastered open
on this joyride we call life.
But what is life?
What is it to live?
A blink away from its antithesis,
a release, a relief,
like gas escaping this vacuous sack we call our own,
as if we ever really owned it in the first place,
as if we ever really owned anything
besides the tumbling thoughts in our heads,
like dull stones being beckoned to shine,
polishing the turds that live between our ears,
like a diamond, once a dusty piece of coal that had a stressful day,
only to come out on the other end the picture of wealth,
gilded and sparkling like a top hat atop a rotting tooth,
though the bones turn to dust, the precious stone remains.
And to think they told us
that our true treasure was waiting in some fairy-tale land
promised by the king of zombies,
robed in majesty of sweaty, bloody rags,
hung on the splintering fruits of his own labor,
betrayed by trade and industry,
a tale as old as rusty nails
and as fresh as a rose gold, miniature, handheld computer,
a dark master,
training us to roam this dying planet like death itself,
hunchbacked, stiffened, writhing, rheumatic beings
seeking to feed on the decay of our own kind,
tearing at the flesh and the mind
as we swipe, swipe, swipe,
until we render each other lifeless,
praying for purgatory or even better,
anxiously awaiting our turn
to curl up inside this barren earth
and make our peace with mediocrity.
The Walking Dead
Eve Poetry Prompt
October 8, 2019
“And you can tell everybody this is your song,”
Sang the moon as her eyes gently closed
And a black veil slipped over her face,
Embroidered with a certain sadness
That proceeds the naivety of breakthrough,
When veil serves as mask,
The superhero’s accessory to defeat,
Disguising the victories that lie
On the other side of the darkness.
But you need special glasses to see
When your brain is throbbing,
Clouded with so many dreams,
Seeping into the whites of your eyes
Like a poisonous ink from a spineless creature
Evolved to make his best successes blind,
Leaning only on the faith of dozens of appendages
Sucking information in,
Transforming, adapting to the depths,
Taking oxygen from decayed and forsaken particles,
Priceless treasures abandoned as trash
By a creature not as optimistic,
Not as realistic to solve the simple equation
That light must succede darkness,
Reign as monarch
With centuries upon centuries of heirs
Nourished in the pitch of a womb,
Reaching thousands of limbs
Into the muddy depths of the earth,
Cycling and cycling through phases,
Until the wheels are burning at both ends
Smoke and smog coated handrails and footprints,
Making a trail so you can find your way back home
Without the glow of the orbs that brought
You there in the first place,
Lead only by shadows of what used to be,
Faintly pointing, navigating
With blurred edges and the faintest whisper
In your heart that the work is already done.
The stones have been laid.
The fabric stitched together
And tied over your eyes,
Until you’re ready to believe that
The blindfold is just a mask,
The mask just a filter
Training your eyes
To let your blindness be your guide.
Bathe in the shadows of
The last and first day of the rest of your life.
This is your song.
The end of a chapter.
The end of an era
Full of light and dark,
Fully light, fully dark,
Hidden in the shadows of crags and rocks
NASA is proud to claim
As a giant step for mankind.
Shadowless projections on the world stage
Outshone by her big brother
Skewing facts, facing them.
Facing away with half a face,
Your nose pointing in one direction,
Your mind in another,
Floating in the stars,
Bloated from the scars
From hanging upside down,
Head filling with vitality, plump and round
Ready to burst, red and tight
Washed black, white,
Gray dust inside this barren sky desert,
Crumbling under a boot,
Ridged with American innovation,
Filled with extra terrestrial matter,
Mingling like two crusty neighbors,
Stuck together, flaky, flecking off,
Leaving bits and pieces
With every step of the journey,
These 13 years spinning out of control.
Anticipating darkness, receiving light,
A disappointing juxtaposition
With a handsome payoff
Enough to cover your debt of shame,
And offer a loan that’s just enough
To chug you along
Over the highest peaks,
Through the treacherous craters
That throw your logic out of orbit
If you pause long enough to consider
That a crater-making beast
Is also made up of craters,
If you have a long enough zoom lens
To de-pixelate the details,
Subvert the colors,
Invert the contrast,
Save the mids,
Boost the highs,
Embrace the lows tightly.
Squeeze life out of the throbbing womb,
Who yearns to create
But argues with the heart,
Who is fighting the same battle.
And how can you be expected
To find the answer
If it’s only visible to the Southern Hemisphere?
But if you spin the globe fast enough,
Vertically and horizontally, at the same time,
The details may blur,
But the truth remains at the core,
Ready to boil over,
Red, hot, magma that expands and contracts.
Expands and hardens.
Hardens and withers.
Withers and weathers
Into glittering moon dust
That’s been floating around our atmosphere
This whole time,
Coating our lungs with breaths of patience,
Whispers of dreams eclipsing doubt,
Giving birth after a 13 year gestation to:
A cornerstone so ancient even the dust collected is a historical landmark of so many things unseen, stories untold, witnessed by specks of dust turned to ash extinguishing years, extinguished by tears, flooding, growing flames burning in the hearts of centuries of congregants so strong in their belief, their faith, unmovable, fixé on Un Dieu who lives in stained glass, a kaleidoscope of holy stories, breathing through pipes of an organ pumping the blood of Christ transubstantianted through dark, medieval, renaissance, industrial, plagued, revolutionary, modern, and contemporary times kept by the gong of bells preserved, pristine by a misshapen soul who found sanctuary as much as the most noble gentleman wiping their tears on the shroud where Jesus wiped his fears, tucked into a virgin’s breast, protected by generations of women veiled in white to say “I do,” or lacy black to say “Adieu,” lighting a blaze of unity for better or sending a up a prayer for worse into the vaults of stony, hallowed halls whose walls hold secrets of seductresses, gypsies, kings, priests, sinners all alike, all the same to the God of the Coeur de Paris, surrounded by holy waters not quite sacred enough to keep out destruction, the natural order of a man-made, nature inspired force that can’t even be put out by the tears of thousands of Frenchman, shed over hundreds of years, enough to fill the Seine, to fill the baptismal fonts, and bless us all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost whose oil burns on, burns brighter, stronger, engulfing, emblazoned, ravaging the memories, the moments, the echoes snuffed out by a spark, reduced to a layer of ash.
I don’t have words to say but my pen yearns to write.
I don’t have notes to sing but my voice yearns to make music.
I crave shapes.
I see lines,
but my body creaks and cracks in fatigue,
a static whispering,
deafening in the silent space between my legs and the couch,
padded screams from inside,
muffled under a pillow,
smothering the life out of a voice that needs,
a body that bleeds only to be fulfilled
by something just barely on the other side of nonsense,
with a glimmer enough of truth to keep sanity at an arm’s length,
way closer than a tray of food or liquor-lined strainer,
draining every toxic drop from each finger,
heavy enough to pry these lids open for one more hour,
just one more day and I’m out of this place…
followed by another and yet another more,
stacked higher than Empire herself,
dreamily floating above the clouds,
which from below seems ideal,
but from above,
the stars and the ground both seem unattainable,
one too high to conceive,
the other so far below
that it doesn’t seem possible to reach it
without smacking into it head first,
once more numbing yourself enough
to forget how painful the bottom was
the last time
and the 10,000 times before
when the patterns of dust on the floor
were more recognizable than your own reflection staring back at you,
your lined face spelling out a road map
of where you’re supposed to be
and what you’re supposed to do
in hieroglyphs of your own creation
that only you have the key to,
if only you didn’t swallow it,
wash it down with another shot of salty tears,
eroding the jagged metal into the only kind of liquid you can stomach,
which is the cold hard truth that
You are your own jailor.
You are penning your own critique
whether you think you have the words or not.
They flow from the pen,
seeping through your sweat,
stinging freshly scratched scars etched on your face,
clawing to be freed,
begging you to put down the scissors
and let the ink fly on unclipped wings
before the muscle’s only memory is
Though I come from a bit of a melting pot of ethnicities, most of my lineage, in fact just about half, is French. My father’s maternal line is French Canadian and both of my mother’s parents have French lineage in New Orleans directly from France and from those who relocated to New Orleans from French Canada. I always felt that if I searched deep enough, I would find a common ancestor between my mother and father. The French colonization of Canada was isolated to a very small region. Surely, there was bound to be a crossover! Ding! Ding! Ding! SUCCESS! I’ll take 9th Great Uncle Grandpa for $500, Alex!
I found a glimmer of a possible connection on a late night Ancestry.com binge a few years ago. However, trying to unravel 300 years of lineage crossover hurt my brain. There wasn’t a computer screen big enough to zoom out as much as I needed to compare the lines. I’ve had a pin on the task of tracking down the exact person that linked my mom and dad but I have been distracted with other parts of my lineage. In my research for this blog post, in which I had no intention of talking about the possibility of my mother and father being related, I accidentally stumbled across the answer! What do they say about finding something when you stop looking? A watched pot of water never boils? Something like that!
But before we get into more about my 9th great Uncle Grandpa Jean, let’s talk about his great-grandparents and their children and grandchildren, whom this blog was originally intended to be about, Nicholas Hébert and Jacqueline Pajot.
Jacqueline Pajot was born c. 1544 right at the height of the European Renaissance in the St. Gervais or The Marais neighborhood in Paris near the Place Baudoyer to bourgeois candle maker, Simon Pajot, and his wife Jeanne Guerineau. This was a time in French history where Paris was the largest city in Europe and was a hot spot for social, political, religious, and artistic change and growth. Discovery and innovation were the theme of this century. During Jacqueline’s lifetime she saw the first street lighting by candles, the first theatre open, the first ballet performance, the beginnings of primary and secondary education, and the growing importance of merchants, especially those who made household items, like her father. I imagine Simon stayed quite busy since the city administration decreed in 1524 that lanterns with lit candles should be hung in front of houses at night. By 1594, a new decree from the police called for lanterns to be hung in the streets of each quarter, with city officials designated to see that they were regularly lit.
At the end of the 15th century, another new industry was born: the printing of books. By the 16th century, Paris was the second most important center of book publishing. In 1500, there were 75 printing houses, second only to Venice. In spite of their growing popularity, books were still considered luxury items. They were printed and sold in the neighborhood nearest the University which was about 2 miles from where the Pajot’s lived on the other side of the Seine. The growing availability of books increased the desire for primary education. Most noble families had private tutors for their children. Schools were organized by the church and were for boys only. As religious reform was growing, many Protestant schools were popping up and sometimes even included girls! However, this wouldn’t have applied to Jacqueline as her family practiced the religion of the Crown, Roman Catholicism. Jacqueline would have perhaps studied with the Ursulines, a religious order for women that provided secondary education for young women, however, the curriculum was limited to reading, writing, sewing and embroidery.
King Francis I helped strengthen the city’s position in scholarship and learning. In 1530, the King created a new faculty at the University of Paris with the mission of teaching Hebrew, Greek and mathematics. Though the growth of the University had positive effects for many, it had a darker cause as well that would be the beginning of a dark time for Parisians for years to come. The University devoted much of its attentions on fighting Protestant heresy. Throughout Jacqueline’s life, she would see a continual increase of tensions between the Protestants and Catholics that would greatly impact her later.
As mentioned before, the Pajot’s were devout Roman Catholic’s as most “good” families were in Paris in the 16th century. They are listed as parishioners of Église St. Gervais. The Église St. Gervais is a perfect representation of a church in that era with a melange of Gothic and renaissance features. The lower nave and the choir stalls, which featured hand carved scenes of daily life, different professions of the time, and various animals, represent the leftovers of the late Gothic style. Though the chapels were complete in 1530, the facade wasn’t constructed until the early 17th century, after Jacqueline died. The facade features an “up-to-date” design more reminiscent of the architecture of the renaissance era, more specifically known as French Baroque.
It was at Église St. Gervais that Jacqueline is said to have been married at least 2 times. I can not find any record of her first husband. Her second husband is documented as Louis de Cueilly. They were married in about 1555. They had 3 children. In my research, I have found varying information about Jacqueline’s birth date. Different sources range anywhere from 1535-1547. It is documented that she was widowed 3 times before marrying her third husband, Nicholas Hébert, in 1564 at Église St. Germaine de Prés, a 6th century abbey on the Left Bank of Paris. If Jacqueline was born closer to the later estimated dates, that would mean she would have been married three times with multiple children all by the age of 17. Though this seems extreme for us in the 21st century, it wasn’t too uncommon in the mid 16th century. The legal marriage age for women was 12, however most women didn’t marry until their early 20s unless they were from a wealthy family, like Jacqueline. It was with her third husband, Nicholas, with whom she would mother children of importance to my family history and the history of many families in the New World.
Nicholas Hébert was born in 1547 to Johannes and Joanna Hébert in Paris. He was an apothecary, grocer, and spice merchant. In fact, he succeeded Michel de Nostradame, more famously known as Nostradamus, as chief apothecary and court physician to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, after Nostradamus’ death in 1566. (If any of you are as big of fans of CW’s Reign as I am, you know how exciting this discovery is!!!) Nicholas owned the Coeur Royal, the Trois Piliers, and the Mortier d’Or at 129 Saint Honoré St. Many notable historical moments occurred on Saint Honoré Street. It was on Saint Honore St. that Joan of Arc was wounded in 1429. At 9 Saint Honoré St., in 1610, King Henry IV of France was assassinated by a Catholic zealot. At 92 Saint Honoré St., 15 Molière, the playwright, was born in 1611. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, clergyman and political writer during the French Revolution, lived at 273 Saint Honoré St. Maximilien de Robespierre was sheltered by Maurice Duplay at 398 Saint Honoré St., where he was later picked up by the cart which took him to the guillotine on the Place de la Concorde in July 1794.
It was at 129 Saint Honoré St. that Nicholas and Jacqueline’s children, Charlotte, Jacques, Louis, and Marie, were born and raised. The Mortier d’Or was a large three story house built in 1415 for wine merchant, Jehan de Paris. It was made of freestone with two separate living quarters. The ground floor housed the store where Nicholas dispensed his spices and medicines. His son Louis followed in his father’s footsteps and learned the apothecary trade. He assisted his father at the French Court. They are almost certain to have had unusual access to the palace. To this day, the ground floor of 129 Saint Honoré St. still serves as a vitamin and supplement shop.
As with many of the bourgeoise, Nicolas supported the Guise (Catholic League) in the Religious Wars. He soon found himself in financial trouble and was forced to sell one of his estates, the Coeur Royal. In 1570, Nicolas had to mortgage Mortier d’or.
In 1572, Jacqueline’s mother, Jeanne, was very ill and dying. On October 3, 1572, Jeanne had her will drawn up. She had stated that all goods that belonged to her would go to her son Isaac, who was 23 at the time and living with her. To avoid any difficulty, she specified that “all the wood of chêne (oak), water, and house as far as can be seen” would belong to Isaac. However, she had named Nicholas Hébert the executor of her will. Jeanne died a few days later and on October 16, Nicholas drew up the inventory of goods from her estate. In her will she stated that above all she wished that her children live in friendship without argument or difference, which it seems is one of many wishes they didn’t respect.
Isaac, being the eldest son, was unhappy with how Nicholas had divided Jeanne’s goods. He demanded to see his mother’s will, which Nicholas, as executor, continued to put off. Isaac wasn’t satisfied with Nicholas’ procrastination so he tried to speed up the process by involving the provost. He claimed that he and his other siblings were owed various sums of money and objects from Jacqueline’s estate. The matter was to be settled out of court, but it would only add to Nicholas and Jacqueline’s already struggling financial situation. Isaac realized that the price of conducting business through the provost was such a large expense and it would be more than the sum of what he believed to be owed anyway, so he dropped it. They eventually came to an agreement and made appropriate divisions among all of the siblings in the amount of 150 pounds.
However, the next year, all of the family mutually decided to turn against Nicholas and Jacqueline once more. They approached the provost with a different charge and yet again came to an amicable agreement. A significant sum of money would be distributed equally between the Pajot children.
After much familial strife, Jacqueline, Nicholas and their children ended up with Saint-Mande and its vineyards a bit outside of the center of Paris. On July 15, 1580, Jacqueline died as the result of a fall. There are no records of foul play, but it does seem oddly suspicious to me that a man in financial trouble, who has already tried to swindle money out of his in-laws, would lose his wife to “unfortunate fall.”
After his wife’s “mysterious” death, Nicholas hired Jehan de Paris to tutor his children. He remarried 2 years later to a widow named Marie Auvry. Some of Nicholas’ goods were seized over an inheritance issue with a new sister-in-law. Nicholas was on the verge of bankruptcy. He had to borrow heavily and when he found that he was unable to meet his commitments, he was taken to court and forced to sell his remaining shares in Mortier d’Or. However, even that was not enough to settle his debts and he was sent to prison for two years in the Chatelet. When he was released, he was very ill and his second wife had passed away.
“Like all edifices in the Old Regime connected with the administration of justice, the Châtelet enjoyed a very sinister reputation, even worse than the storied Bastille. Relatively few Parisians of common stock were ever able to claim the dubious distinction that a relative or friend languished in the dungeons of the Bastille; many more could make the claim for the dank chambers of the Châtelet, inherently far more fearsome than the dry and relatively comfortable prison a mile to the east.”
Around 1589, Nicholas married for the third time to a Renee Savoreau. She had many financial interests in the Chartres region. (I’m sensing a common theme here). He lived out the rest of his days in St-Germaine-des-Pres until his death in January of 1600.
Though Nicholas and Jacqueline’s stories both seem to have come to a sad and untimely end, their descendants went on to leave their mark on the world, specifically the “New World.” Their son Louis, who learned his father’s trade of medical arts, science, and pharmacology, is widely considered to be the first Canadian apothecary, the first European to farm in Canada, and the first colonist of Quebec. He followed his cousin on an expedition to Canada in 1606 in hopes of making a fortune in the fur trade. However, as a pharmacist, he seemed to be more interested in plants and horticulture. He was highly regarded and particular note was made of his knowledge and pleasure in cultivating the land. In 1617, Louis was the first private individual to receive a grant of land in the New World from the French government. On April 11, 1617, Louis, his wife, Marie, and 5 other French families set sail on the Saint-Etienne for Quebec. Louis was recognized as having been of great service to the colony; for being a physician and surgeon, for being the principle provider of food, and for having fostered good relationships with the natives. According to the Historical Demography Research Program of the Université de Montreal, Louis and Marie are considered the tenth most important couple in French-Canadian ancestry at that time, with 4592 descendants by 1800. There is a statue of Louis and Marie in Montmorency Park.
So what does all of this have to do with my 9th Great Uncle Grandpa?
Well, Nicholas and Jacqueline had another son, Jacques Hebert. Though Jacques might not have been as historically significant as his brother Louis’, it turns out he is pretty significant in my family history. Jacques had a son named Antoine. Antoine had a son named Jean and thus we meet Great (x9) Uncle Grandpa Jean! Jean was born in Port Royal, Nova Scotia in Canada in 1653. Jean and his wife Anne Doucet parented at least 13 children, hence the ancestral wires crossed in my genealogy.
The Heberts on my dad’s side remained in Canada until 1887, when my great-great-great grandfather, Pierre Hebert, immigrated to Munising in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On my mom’s side, my Hebert ancestors were actually a part of the Ile Saint-Jean campaign, which was a series of military operations in 1758 that deported the French colonists, or Acadians, back to France as the British conquest swept through Canada. The Acadians refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the British crown which led to their eventual deportation. Of the 12 transport ships, 8 made it to France, with a death toll up to 1,500 people. One of the survivors was my 6th great grandfather, Theodore Bourg (Son of Jean Pierre Bourg and Elizabeth Hebert), who was only 13 at the time of the deportation. Theodore grew up in St. Malo, France, a port city in Brittany in Northwestern France. St. Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and local Breton authorities. From 1590 to 1593, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto “not French, not Breton, but Malouin.” If anyone knows me or my family, you will know that this attitude has seemed to have survived all the way to 2017. Theodore Bourg remained in St. Malo until 1785, when Spain paid for 7 ships to transport Acadian refugees from France to settle in Louisiana. Theodore, now 39, his wife Anne, and their 3 children, Theodore (5th great grandfather), Anne, and Magdaleine, boarded the Le Saint Remi on June 27, 1785 en route to Louisiana. They arrived 75 days later and settled with several other families along Bayou LaFourche. And the rest is history!
Is your head spinning yet? Mine is! Perhaps this chart will help.
So there you have it! Sorry Mom and Dad, but you are cousins. Very, very, very distant cousins. Oh, and just in case that bit of news wasn’t enough to handle for one day, you two are both related to Hillary Clinton, who shares a common ancestor mentioned earlier in this post, Jacqueline Hebert’s father, Simon Pajot (remember the 16th century candle maker?). I know you will both be thrilled about that. But, at the end of the day, if you really think about it, we are all related somehow. It just takes a certain level of curiosity, stubbornness, and a yearly subscription to ancestry.com to really prove it.
There’s something about these house, these hours, the wee small ones, tiny, baby, minuscule hours of the night where only the wolves can see and speak and congregate together with their kind. Their likeness, fur matted, together in a circle, huddled mass. Amen. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost of the night, the invisible sheet covered being, three in one, two, three, one, two, three. Guard my sleeping children. Night lights burning bright, the first star I see tonight. If I can even see anything at all. What is there to see beneath the covered sky masked by the smog and light and colors so bright they dull the night lights left on by Mother or Father to keep us safe from the magical boy outside the window pane, pain, paint, pain, pain, pain, pain, pant like the wolf. The hot breath of the wolf howling for me to come hither. Whither must I wonder through the forest or else I’ll be lost or found. Who knows the difference? Am I contrite or contrived controlling ink from a pen? NO! Get out and stay out. I’ve had enough of the walls and the blocks building walls on my thoughts. The true thoughts under layers and layers of brick and mortar, too expensive for a pop-up shop, too easy to not let it flop. Let it go. Let if flow. Let it roll out like thunder. Don’t control. Just let it go, out, out, out, and away from my pen to my head, from my head to my pen. My pen is red like a childhood joke or game. It depends how you look at it. My hand is second guessing. The penmanship fails, the frail, aching, and tired, out of practice, fatigued like a soldier’s threads collected in the Plaza boutique. All we have on this block is one small corner to congregate and create. As if anyone cared what I have to say or what you have to say. What am I doing anyway, other than rambling away in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep because of the caffeine, which isn’t worthy or worth it even. The first thing I can think of because there’s so many filters and filters on filters and filtered through filters of hashgram no filter. Because nothing comes out without being filtered through lomo or loco, amaro of black and white slides of an instamatic app. What does that say about your life or your photo that you make it all up? Nonsense. It’s all nonsense and blocked and walls are built with or without our consent because the tiny glowing screens and particles that make it up impress upon our impressionistic impressionism lives which zoom out to be some sort of semblance of a glowing life with or without the filter, with or without the darkness: a time when words come out and the worms crawl out to be seen, just to be seen. For example, if I must, and I might make an example of myself talking about worms and flowing without a seam or a segment. A section of parts making up a whole of a soul…or a sole…or a soal? Who even determines the meaning when autocorrect will just make a decision for you anyway and you have the audacity to think you matter. When your handwriting changes every page, every line, every word you’ve ever heard changes meaning and scope. Just chalk it up to experience so you can take something home in a styrofoam box to have something left, if anything is even left when you decide to go searching and pray there’s no mold eating the meal you were intended for with or without the dowry. Selling yourself once again to a man or THE man, with or without the meaning you deserve or intend to tend to yourself or take care, if that’s even allowed. But most of the time you won’t have a say anyway, because you are stuck wide awake when the world is asleep and rumor has it you’re more likely to be a psychopath for enjoying the night and the crickets song and the cricking and screeching of the owl and barn noises. The inhabitants who inhabit the night with you by their side, they don’t seem as crazy as you do with or without the cursive “z” or “y” because who even writes like that anyway? A mix of letters, a mix of styles. Keep it pure. Segregated. That’s what they want. That’s what they tell you but you know it’s wrong. You never believed them. There is so much more and you have always known, whether you could make it out or not, or if you could translate or decode the writings of late night ramblings. Somewhere between the mixed style and writings lies the answer.The answer only found when the early bird is fast asleep dreaming of that worm, who does his best work at night. Because it’s all connected, whether wiggly, squiggly, square, straight, black, white, gay, or rainbow skinned, the pigment is all the same to the worm, the defeater of man. The king of the feast, seated in the Father’s lap, to the left of the Mother, who knows the difference in a subtle bark better than Father could ever scrape a stray hair from his trousers. Mother knows. She knows the night. She created it. She lies and breathes and prays and sins best under the night lights. Keep my children safe. Burn steadfast tonight.