In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Burial Cloth Removed
  • Jill Noel Kandel (bio)

Ten years of my life lie hidden. I missed the 1980s altogether. When people talk about '80s TV shows, politics, or movies I hardly have a clue. Reagan went missing somewhere and I never really found him. A part of me went missing, too. I turned up later with a sort of confused amnesia. While I cannot say who won Oscars, Super Bowls, or pennants, I can tell you other useless trivia. I can tell you about being mugged in Zimbabwe, being held at spear point in Lusaka, having army ants eat all my chickens and ducks—alive—down to the bone. I can tell you how the mist feels falling upward off of the magnificent Mosi-oa-Tunya Waterfalls, how an African fish eagle holds its heavy morning prey, about the pungent wild smell emitted by a herd a hundred strong of wildebeest.

I can tell you about being alone.

When Lazarus was sick unto death, Jesus knew and waited. He let Lazarus lie dead and cold for three days before He came. Before He wept. Does it matter what Lazarus missed those three days in the tomb? And when they pulled the cloth away—Mary and Martha longing to see that beloved irreplaceable face again—was it the same as they remembered?

I love a God who is difficult to explain and hard to understand. He crushes what He loves. Take Joseph of the Old Testament. Joseph the [End Page 131] good boy. Joseph the good man. There's not one sentence, not one word in the Bible that shows he ever did anything wrong, yet—beware of being too good—his brothers threw him in a pit, sold him as a slave, and told his father he was dead.

God hides His face from those He favors.

Hide Abby—Minnesota 2009

My youngest daughter, Abigail, has never lived outside of North Dakota and Minnesota. These are her boundaries. At the age of three, she liked to tell stories about Africa.

"Mom, the babies in Africa were all born with their eyes shut," she said to me.

"Abigail, you've never been to Africa."

"Yes, I have. The babies' eyes are shut. For five days. I've seen it. Just like my puppies."

She persisted not only in her made-up memories but also in her play. Her favorite game became Hide and Seek the Bear. It started while visiting friends in California. Their three big boys—all close to six feet tall and football built—hid her tiny brown bear in various rooms while she toddled around looking for it. The boys soon tired of the bear. Abby, little bigger than the bear herself, proved more appealing.

"Let's play Hide Abby," one of the boys called out.

And so they did. She was just a handful in those big palms.

"I'll hide her first," the oldest one said.

The others hid their eyes and he plunked Abby down inside an oval basket.

They hid her again and again, throughout the house for hours.

Hold Her—Zambia 1985

I am six months pregnant, and big. We are on our way home—back to Kalabo Village—from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia.

My husband sits in the right-hand seat, driving. One-and-a-half-yearold Melinda plays between us.

We are driving through Kafue Game Park, on narrow, tall-grass roads. A bus, in front on the right, has stopped in the middle of the road. My husband slows down—ever the cautious driver. We're barely going twenty. [End Page 132] He honks repeatedly and moves left to pass. We're exactly even with the bus, not able to see around it. There is less than a blur of movement. A thud sends a shudder through the truck. I see his knuckles; they are white.

A motionless girl, with one arm thrown across a pothole, lies on the cracked tarmac, sweet potatoes scattered all around. Her black hair hides her face and blends into the pavement. It is no different than the hair of all the young girls who stand looking down at her still form, clothed...