Count the houses of worship: From Tyson Street to Tabor in Olney, you can walk a straight avenue of redemption, rising with the sun.
Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Episcopal, and Evangelical—every people to their house. Only I visit them all, as part of this mester de juglaría, this cycle of irregular meter and spotty rhyme with popular heroes at its heart.
When the heroes fall (or are felled) their friends light candles. Their families stagger to front pews, crowned and adorned. Their altar servers let tattoos peek out from under albs as they ring the sanctus bells. And their deacons lay stoles of mourning over bent necks.
Sometimes a cop from the neighborhood comes too, and goes to one knee, sensing the need for absolution.
Before the candles, before the stoles and bells, before the cop—I get the call…
Short story in Issue 11 of Uncanny Magazine, July 2016. Click to read.