The lady in the picture is a fraction of her whole-a bit of glasses, hair like mine. Did she shape the assignment or was it the Wizard of Oz for freshman comp? I don’t know, but as with so many words shaped into injunctions it sticks in my craw–pick the one thing? Not a good thing? Not one among brothers? I suspect literary ambush, which then feels like literary paranoia, but I kick around/go into the weeds with this one thing-
You. You are the one thing. The voice in my head steadying my coward’s heart. My man, Jesus I tell Madeline about that universal division of time into before and after You.
Like if you believed in evolution it would be 50 billion, million zillion years BCE, and those sylphish, wispy 2000 after.
Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
After the helicopter crash I strove to get to him in time but not hard enough. Our progress was halted for hours on the bayou highway between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge by a jack-knifed produce truck. Seemingly no injuries besides the greens while in Alabama my father lay prone in the ICU, bandaged skull, sometimes blood seeping from the gauze dressing.
I never saw him like this. By the time we got there he had moved on to the next thing, loosing the coils of mortality and shaking off any talk of rehabilitation.
The undertaker told us that if we wanted to see him again in any respectable fashion (my words, not his) a hat would be required. So we spent most of a day darting in and out of haberdasheries looking for cowboy hats. He was a cowboy: he deserved a cowboy hat.
But the trick was size-the lingering signs of his fatal fall meant his head was swollen, maybe even still haloed in gauze? It had to be a proper 10 gallon, XL…I had begun to think I would fail him in this final quixotic endeavor when we found an eclectic store that had beach t’s, jeans, souvenirs, and…cowboy hats.
It was cream colored, the largest size. They cut it in half so that it appeared to recede effortlessly nto the pillow.