Novel Excerpt



            Wishes!  Wind-thrown, white, thin fingers, soft, carrying seeds.  Used to chase them across the front yard.  Warm sun.  Green grass with yellow spots.  Mike picked Mom dandelions.  I never did.  I grabbed the wishes I could reach and held them in my fist.  Whispered my secret wishes for a sister.  Sent them to Heaven to whisper in the ear of the white-bearded God.  Wondered how they knew the way to the ear of Our Lord.  Good night, Our Lord.  Thank you for everything.  Please protect Mom and Dad, Mike, all of our family, and all of the boys in Vietnam.  May the souls of the faithful departed, especially Aunt Maggie, rest in peace....Our Father who art in Heaven ... Stephen searched for a father. Bloom searched for a son.  Rudy died.  Rest in peace.  All my life a search for a sister.  Ann.  Found her.  Strange power to wish a sister into existence.  Gone.  Maybe should have never given-  Damned thing!  If somehow by the grace of God I ever found the motherfucker, I wouldn’t be responsible.  I’d be held for murder.  Killed her.  Ann MacSority Perry, 1957-1982.  Rest in Peace. 


            Mike drove.  Me in back, head down looking sideways out through darkest sunglasses, teeth clenched, stomach tight, insides warring, hating sun.  Green spikes along graveyard fence.  Holy Cross Cemetery


            Priest:  “We have a parish named Holy Cross.  Holy Cross?  You’ve got to understand the Jewish mindset.  ‘How can you call the cross “holy”?’ they ask.  ‘Crucifixion was the worst way to die under the Roman Empire.  It was for the most common criminals.  It’s like a modern-day person saying ‘Holy Electric Chair.’  It is because of the Gospel, the Good News!  That is what makes us a hallelujah people, an Easter people, and not a Good Friday people.” 


            White trash couple walked by hand in hand past an ugly row of niggerhouses, paintchips barely clinging to rotting wood.  Wanted to strangle the both of them.  Turned into the cemetery through two grey stone gate pillars.  Up front Eileen cried.  Across the stream huge trees.  “The only trees in Yeadon,” someone said once.  Rows of grey tombstones and mausoleums.  Rest in peace.  He gave us purple flowers to put on top of the silver casket with the silver crucifix on top.  Holy Cross. 


            Mine fell.  It sat on top of the casket for a second.  Crisscrossed drops the priest had squirted stood apart and grey.  Pictures of the Last Supper on the side.  Maybe should have never given-  Damned thing!


–  Jack, can I take it for a ride, please?  Please, Jack, I’ll be right back!

–  Don’t you want to go out for dinner?

–  Yeah, of course I do.  You go take a shower and get ready and I’ll be right back.  O.K.?


            Shower..... Phone call.  Hit and run.  Identify.  Happy birthday.  If somehow by the grace of God I ever found the motherfucker, I wouldn’t be responsible.  I’d be held for murder. 


            The flower fell.  It bumped into the green belt of the lowering device, bounced off of the astroturf carpet, and fell.  It fell, tumbling six clay feet into the hole.  Leave it there.  Can’t go get it.  Ann MacSority Perry, 1957-1982.  Rest in Peace.  Wish blew by then, too. 


Written Philadelphia, 1986