Two fists and a bruised knuckle. No lunch money. No school bus. He wears his soles out each morning, drops them at the back of the courtyard, and goes to class barefoot. Doesn’t say much. He sits alone some days and other days he doesn’t. Always the same thing for lunch. Carrots and men. Plucks them out of his lunchbox by the fingers, one in each hand, and holds them up to his eyes. Weighs them like sacks of grain. How it was done in the old days. Scales. Precision. Sometimes he puts them back in, other times he takes a bite. Not greedily, not ponderously, just the crunch of a hand, a finger, a foot.

No one remembers how long he’s been around school. Teachers don’t mind him much. Smells, maybe, but hands in his homework on time and never shows up late. Not a terribly bright student, but consistent. Mutters under his breath, always whispering something forgotten. Last words. Prayers. All that makes noise once and never again. Music. Frogs. Parents. Sometimes he chirps. Teacher once asked him if everything was alright at home and his face made her want never to ask him anything again. Made her want to sit at a potter’s wheel until she ached. She ached.

This is how God sits. Straight-backed rebel. No one comes near him during recess. Know he’ll crack your fingers for a few good swings on the monkey bars. Not a bully. Just knows what he wants.

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