“At Four in the Morning” by Judy Bowman

Judy Bowman, RPN


This is what appears on the back stage of her retina at four in the morning: an old soldier his face a rigid tragedy, his hands, talons tearing the mesh of air, her hands and arms, sliding, skidding on his rippled gray skin, as slick and drenched as rain-swept tarmac. Once she heard a rabbit dying in a snare; a memory revived by the reverberation of his groans and weeping, his prayers flung against the walls of his room. She lies to him about his son coming—yes, soon, I promise—then passes him like money to ambulance attendants. In the digital blinking of time, she asks Job’s question, wanting something more for this man and more, for herself someday. But she gets a horrifying non-answer, and at four in the morning, she can still smell his sweat on her soap-scrubbed skin.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007
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