When little Harry passed, his parents wrapped him in green cloth and carried him down to the edge of the riverbank. Harry’s father brought rope, and for hours they gathered driftwood and twigs, tying and assembling, starting over and assembling again. Finally there was a makeshift canoe, more like a raft, resembling a misshapen bed, all brown, knotted, and disjointed, but it would do.
His mother yanked the green cloth aside, exposing Harry’s forehead, cold and milky, not much different from the day he was born. She kissed it, teary-eyed and heaving, before passing him to the father.
They wrapped Harry up tightly and lowered him into the raft, placing next to him his favorite stuffed bear and a full bottle of formula. Together the mother and father cast their son off, and he floated calmly away into the black womb of the gentle water and screaming crickets.
They said things like, That’s the proper way and His great escape was soothing. They held each other. For a moment they felt full, staring off into the distant twilight.
The flashing lights behind them lit the river like a midnight carnival; reds and blues bounced off the water’s slow ripples, illuminating the shore. Harry’s raft hadn’t made it very far. It had veered left and crashed up onto the bank, spilling his bottle and bear and unraveling the green cloth around his body. The cops poured down the hill to join the festivities.
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