restricted access Outlaw
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44 Outlaw May he go among the imperishable stars, May he journey in the boat of a million years. —The Book of Going Forth by Daylight You’ve taken off again, J.R., this time steering the boat of your coffin into the final terror you always wooed, leaving me to read your obit and make plans with February, its snow already gone filthy under the cedar, which I now declare your shrine. You were no good, our neighbors said, needing an indigenous criminal. Well, you did have a mouth to make Marilyn Monroe blush, with which you kissed me under the old cedar. You, who taught me to laugh at death while you gunned the 1952 Chevy. The only one who would still touch me after my father died. Who taught me rage is better than fear. But it wasn’t love, was it, that night you held me in the front seat, the night you wouldn’t let me go, while I imagined my mother, frantic as scalding soup, phoning neighbors, sweating—my widowed mother—? Then what made you hold me till I could see the ghost of my father like a bearded cedar walking through the dark? ...


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