island for another day. And when the Coast Guard arrived, he said, “I
wish I could explain.”
Susie has an arm around Mike. “Dr. Dejean says it could not have
I remember then that I will now pee like—what was it?—a twelve-
year-old. When Mike was twelve I believed I could imagine the man he
would become. Our oldest child. The first of our family. How that family
would grow. When Mike was twelve, a neighbor knocked on our door
late, maybe 10: 15. He said someone had shot at him with a pellet gun
from our house, from the roof. Mike sometimes climbed onto the roof
from a dormer in his room.
“A pellet gun, how do you know?”
“I know the sound.”
“Impossible,” I said.
“Ask your son,” he said. “I’ve seen him up there.”
“No,” I said. “No. I know him. I know what’s possible.”
“Dr. Prayer,” Dr. Dejean says as my family parts around him. Heavier
in the eyes, the mouth, he wears a bright doctor’s coat. Looks nothing
like Mike. Not really. “How are we feeling?”
“Lighter,” I say. Even Susie laughs.
And it’s working. Two weeks later. No catheter. No more straining
with my dick in my hands. Although sometimes Susie still sobs, mutters
about Alaska, about the forlorn jail there, about the trial, about what
happened to our poor boy. “Gateway to the Arctic.” That’s what she
calls her latest painting. In a corner of all the gray is a splotch of white,
which I’m betting is the bear. The bear that wandered onto an island,
then swam off into the warming sea. Likely swam until it climbed onto
a floating slab of ice. And rode the polar currents without a worry in its
Jedediah Cannon is a writer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.