Tell them everything they said. Tell them about the sick hands of some evil people or the evil hands of some sick people. Tell them about the one who most betrayed, although a river appears now, so tell them about the river, whitewater and fat shad wriggling in death at the ends of our gigs, three prongs and waist deep between rocks where we had to wade our way carefully. More than one of us drowned in that river. We sold the shad to a Russian neighbor who paid ten cents a fish and we were so fucking rich we didn’t know what to do. Tell them what you did, they said. Can there be sin without punishment I asked the father at catechism on Saturday, my parents too poor for Catholic school, and you had to learn the routine somewhere. I loved the father, and when I went to the war he wrote to me once a month, but that Saturday morning when I longed only to be on a baseball field, or in the arms of Sister Mary Katherine, fat chance of that, he told me there were questions better left unasked. He didn’t say “unanswered,” as I had expected, but “unasked.” I was disappointed nearly to tears although he never knew that. Afterward I stayed inside the church alone. I wanted to pray but nothing would come to my lips, or to my heart which felt heavy for the first time. I could still hear the stern voice of the father, warning me about questions my life depended upon me asking. If you have the need to know, there’s nothing you can do except open up a vein and bleed it out of you. Tell them about the bleeding, they said, as if it was easy to pull a hook from a fish’s gills. Dome of blue sky is all that we have left between us and one catastrophe or another to wipe it all out, but that’s alright with me. Blue dome of sky beyond a green line of old trees bending into the breeze but never letting go, beyond a small house and its many lives that come and go like bats to the last river in the night. Tell them about the night, about the church bells that won’t stop ringing, so many dead the rope pulled morning to dusk, no rest for anyone. I wanted to pray under the dome of blue sky but nothing would come to my lips, and I think it must feel like when a spirit or something like a spirit dies inside you.