The Prayer

My baby complained of migraines. So we prayed on a beach of shells for God to take them away.

Fourteen summer’s later: we went hiking in the woods and, naturally, came upon the man with the ax. He was seated near an expired campfire, sharpening the blade of his ax with a stone. “I’ve been waiting.” He stood and with one swing chopped my baby in half at the waist. “You’re welcome.” Then he returned to his home in the woods, felling pine trees and evicting birds along the way.

My baby lay bleeding in ash, without legs, yet professed to be miraculously healed. “No more drilling behind the eyes.” For a short while I mourned the loss of running 5k’s together. “It’s alright. Pick me up and let’s get out.” I carried my baby piggyback down the looping dirt trail. Bushes that had previously stood in our path now stepped aside. Mountain ranges changed out of their skins. “It’s funny...” I looked back and said: “What is?” My baby reached out with a free hand and plucked a golden maple leaf off from a tree, hanging on for a hard second before letting go.