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
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,
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
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,
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