In the Park
You have forty-nine days between death and rebirth if you're a Buddhist. Even the smallest soul could swim the English Channel in that time or climb, like a ten-month-old child, every step of the Washington Monument to travel across, up, down, over or through --you won't know till you get there which to do. He laid on me for a few seconds said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell about his skirmish with a grizzly bear in Glacier Park. He laid on me not doing anything. I could feel his heart beating against my heart. Never mind lie and lay, the whole world confuses them. For Roscoe Black you might say all forty-nine days flew by. I was raised on the Old Testament. In it God talks to Moses, Noah, Samuel, and they answer. People confer with angels. Certain animals converse with humans. It's a simple world, full of crossovers. Heaven's an airy Somewhere, and God has a nasty temper when provoked, but if there's a Hell, little is made of it. No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire, and no choosing what to come back as. When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down on atheist and zealot. In the pitch-dark each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.
From Nurture, by Maxine Kumin, published by Viking Penguin, Inc. Copyright © 1989 by Maxine Kumin. Used with permission.