Around town you’ve been saying, “I am not a lost cause; I am not a lost cause.” You keep making appointments at God’s office to quibble over the numbers. He says half; you say one quarter; you throw the magazines around the waiting room; the blind children and elderly waitresses scream. The secretary gives you one more slip to the bureau of problems, but you crumple it, stuff it between your driver’s seat and the floor, turn around and head back to the office, turn around again and head for home where you sit in empty rooms all weekend listening for the bend of staircases. You go back in on Monday and tell them there’s no such thing as “holy, holy, holy,” no “fruit that does not wither,” no “fitted arrow to the string.” God blinks hard twice and breathes deeply and says nothing for so long that you forget the way his voice sounds. You decide this is about principle more than problems even though God has told you time and time again that he has no bureau for such a thing.

Sarah Carson