the cider is sweet, too much
for you. you ask the soldiers to
wait outside because you want to
finish it anyway. they hesitate because of
the snow, but drop your chin and swallow. the
silence in the air adds weight to your order and
the three men follow one another. you turn
to the young family and
hold the girl, then return her to her mother.
she stops and starts crying intermittently. the
bartender asks if you’d like more,
but you tell him no, that this was a religious experience,
this child born was promised to you by
a dead priest.