Easter 1979

Mom’s sick today, so Robby and I are in the pew unsupervised, tussling over the Etch-A-Sketch. Behind the pulpit, Dad pauses, glares us quiet, then grins apologetically at his congregation. Everyone laughs. I sulk, make silent vows.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Afterward, I race Robby to the cemetery and up the sycamore, where we play Zacchaeus. Not today, though. When I push, Robby lands tailbone-first, but he’s able to limp off to tattle. I’d harbored darker hopes.

When Dad comes asking, I’ll answer, “You’re why.” But I won’t climb down. Not ever. Branch by branch, I’ll keep rising.

Tom Noyes has published two story collections, Behold Faith (2003) and Spooky Action at a Distance (2008), both with Dufour Editions, and his fiction has appeared in many journals, including most recently Terrain.org, New Ohio Review and Sycamore Review. He teaches in the BFA program at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where he also serves as consulting editor for the literary journal Lake Effect.

Photo Credit: Doug McAbee

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