Tremors of silverfish twist through crevices in the Escomb church walls. Alive in the shadows. Centuries of insects slick with Saxon blood. My father pierces the brown air with his fist, meaning, let’s promenade through the graveyard. I take his arm. He whistles for his childhood dog, Rosie, who leaps from a steamer trunk full of Dad’s memories. Good pup, I say.
Outside, the sky moves like a rat snake shedding its skin. My dead sister sits on a tombstone with an incribed skull and crossbones. Kicks her bare heels against the skull’s sooted eyes. I’m waiting, she says.
On the far side of the graveyard, Dad finds the Limpopo river. We watch it slug by, watching us back with its greasy eye. Dad sees a baby rhino stuck in the mud. Hurry, he says, in Zulu, tossing me a jeep and seven strong men. It takes us hours and a lot of rope, but we free the rhino. Dad beams for the rest of his life at the rhino. Though godless, you were always the smart one, he says, calling me by my sister’s name.