David Rutschman

I was teaching my son to throw stones into the water when he became a stone and I threw him in the water.

“My boy, my darling boy,” I called and I hurled myself after him and I became a stone and we tumbled down to the silent muddy bottom.

We were together then, two smooth stones.

“Terrorists?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“And cancer?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“And the decline of turtle populations, and the skies filled with bombs?” he asked and I said, “Yeah, I know, I know, of course, but —”

“What will become of us?” he cried and I said, “We’ll be all right, I think,” and tried to explain something about courage and tenderness and human dignity, but he was not reassured.

“Can you keep me safe?” he asked quietly, and I hesitated just a beat before I said, “Yes,” and by then he was already onto me — my sharp kid — and though I tried and tried, I could not reach out to him, being a stone.

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