jolts me into sun diamonds and crunching snow as we turn round and around, myself attempting to unravel her leash from my knees as she follows me eagerly with wet nose and lapping tongue. Sophia! who sensed, on this winter path, my longing and leapt toward it, a sleek muscle of joy that nearly knocked me down, all kisses and cornsilk-soft ears and a name that means Wisdom, a name that is not wasted on this animal whose owner, an elderly man wearing woolen ear flaps, is crying, Sophia, have some manners, Sophia, in a charmingly accented voice that Sophia wisely ignores, continuing to kiss and kiss this strange woman who smelled like sadness a moment ago, this woman who is now laughing.
Then my mother became my child. I'd felt so light on the teeter-totter that I was surprised by such power, holding someone so important in the sky with nothing but my weight on the other side. It was kind of thrilling, kind of strange. And I noticed the earth is jagged with faults and fractures. Grass staggers in uneven dirt and the shoreline zigs and zags. You can never glue the two uneven pieces of a broken teacup perfectly together.
When she died, I worried about her as if I'd driven her to her first day of school and left her there alone. For weeks I wondered, did she find her classroom? Is she making friends in heaven? I'm trying to glue pieces of the cup together. Heaven is roughly what I mean. If God ever used that word, he spoke in Hebrew. Nothing, it turns out, has a simple surface. Maybe it's the missing and the faults we have to love.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).