Brian Builta

Dear Austin,

Even though you’ll be dead again tomorrow, your classmates pitched in to buy you a ring for the finger you no longer have. For a while, I fingered the rosary your friends brought back from Rome. It smelled of rosewood and jawbreakers. Still, that first Christmas, I cried at the foot of the Pietá replica at the east end of the garden, Mary there holding her broken heart. I pull over at the garden frequently to gather my mouth around the moans. Sometimes the o in moan is a cosmic peephole wherein I can see my loved ones flickering in the distance. As you suspected, life is a teetertotter and despite the laws of physics, nothing is fair. You were right to install walls. Abraham may have been a father of faith with mad knife skills, but his son Isaac spent the rest of his life sleeping with one eye open.

Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University.

Photo by James Coleman


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