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Modern Theology

I came across Cain and Abel in my front yard. Rolling in the dirt,

their faces (and thus their souls)

were obscure to me.

Had I been able to see past the dusty limbs, perhaps

I would’ve caught my reflection

and understood.

But my unsurety of their embrace—Love? Hate?—contained the seconds of victory, because I blinked

And Cain was gone.

What else was there for him to stay? He had secured his inheritance. Had bent Abel’s backbone into fence posts,

marking territory.


I was afraid to touch him. His eyes were not yet glassy.

I imagined my hand reaching out, touching a chest that would rise as I pulled away. Or fingers sinking through flesh, the broken body dripping through my hands

like water.

Abel did neither.

He was not able to comment on the state of his being.

I felt the guilt then. Too heavy for Cain to have taken with him as he ran, a birthright leftover from his own. Guilt and shame were the weights on my fingers that made me reach down,

cradle hair.

I placed him under a tree. Not to hide him.

But I did not have the tools, and my hands

were already full of other things to carry.


What is a grave

except a temporary shelter?

Date submitted: February 3, 2023 Date accepted: April 22, 2023

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