04. God’s Pet

“So God created the great sea monsters,”

 Genesis 1:21 (NRSV)

Twenty-three years later, all of us — Mom,
Dad, me, my husband and kids — we go
to the movies. Mom wants to see “The Water Horse:
Legend of the Deep,” before she starts chemo.

How can a Scottish lad miraculously find
the single egg of the great Leviathan?
How can our family have encounter
after encounter with the same monster?

When I was the age of my daughter, I saw Mom
put on makeup in her bathroom after her
surgeries. I blurted, “At least you didn’t have cancer.”
And she said, “But I did.”

But she couldn’t have. Because even then, I knew
I knew that cancer killed people.
So how could she be standing in her bra
with the squishy thingies, like cancer

was no big deal? Like the flu?
The next year Dad got cancer, and he didn’t die.
Mom got cancer again, and she didn’t die (again).
But Cile did. And Llera. And Fannie.

Abby didn’t die of cancer.
Neither did Fayma or Dixie.
Then Vanita got it and almost died,
and Don did die.

And I knew that boy on the screen couldn’t keep
a secret this big.
I knew God’s pet couldn’t stay in a humble loch

Go right ahead.

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