thumbing through the Jesus book

by Erica Hoskins Mullenix

We're on our way out, my brother and me, to the grave­yard. We sit and watch the mark­ers, read the stones, won­der about who's buried along­side them. Thinking about noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar or maybe about our mom, we never share, just think to our­selves how things should have worked out dif­fer­ent. Where we would have been if not left behind in the street like two wet dogs.

The cemetary's care­taker brings us bread and some­times juice boxes. Like we're lit­tle kids, but it's all he has, and he knows we're hun­gry. Once, he brought us a book with Jesus on the cover, and my brother tucked the book between a clutch of flow­ers and the head­stone of Mary Margaret, daugh­ter, sis­ter, 1996—2000. We thought she'd like to have some­thing to look at while she waited.