A woman would come. Our boy was in no hurry. He hadn’t lived that story yet. He was living on the land, providing for his family. He was a boy and a man.

There were women who would have him. His boss invited him to fix a leak, and answered her door in a nightie, illustrating time and gravity underneath. That leak was sealed with religious attention, and our boy begged no hunger, no thirst: I’m in a hurry! There was the nurse who kneaded his thigh, making way for the bullet that would be his for life. But she was in a hurry, and the whites of the freedom fighter’s eyes still burned into our man’s mind, and rage is no aphrodisiac for a nice guy.

He was a nice guy. He clapped, even hooted a bit when the ice-cream girl called him into her truck and danced down to her bra, but he didn’t touch. He returned to work and pumped the swimming pool clean. He mowed fields around the bombed-out stadium so guys could forget all playing ball. He oversprayed hate graffiti with black blobs...