A Real Smart Boy

By Mitchell Grabois

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The minister was over for dinner
Our precocious five-year-old son
thin blonde hair flying off his head
leaned over the table with an intent expression
and asked the Reverend
Do you know that there are over a hundred-thousand Gods?
…and some of them have elephant heads?

I wondered:
How did he come up with this shit?
A powerful imagination he had
I couldn’t see it as a good thing
especially after what happened next

The Reverend
caught by surprise
inhaled a piece of brisket
He choked
choked to death actually
neither me nor my wife knowing
that maneuver when someone chokes

My wife ran out the front door
her grey and blue plaid dress flying behind her
but by the time someone got there
–the veterinarian
who’d been seeing to one of the neighbor’s calves–
it was too late

The Reverend lay on the floor
his face blue as an elephant-headed God’s

My son learned that there is information that should
not be shared
secrets that need keeping
My son learned that elephant-headed Gods don’t want
Baptist preachers to know about them
They wanted their elephant-headed secrets kept close

Mitchell Grabois