Off the Road to Damascus
Cameron Paterson

Paul wakes up in the field beside his donkey.  He had

dreamed of a dogfish chasing tiny angels on a pinhead.

His elementary school teacher poking him with a ruler,

asking him questions.  Demanding answers.  Who would

knock a man off his donkey and not take his clothes or

his boots? God’s pinky, his tiny hammer of reason bangs

at Paul’s mind.  Dancing will bring Paul closer to the

good.  He rents a car and drives it to a studio.  A

burning raindrop greets him at the door.  We’re glad to

see you, a raindrop says.  You’re never too old to

start dancing.  Paul buys a flesh-colored leotard at a

discount price.  Several women snicker that he looks like

the fatophobic poster child in it.  The instructor has

him partner with Suzy, a thin girl.  He tries to move his

arms in big circles to match Suzy but his leotard is too

tight.  Every time he circles his arms above his head he

gives himself a wedgie.  Students giggle behind him.  He says

that he has to go to the bathroom.  After you finish the

exercise, the instructor says.  No pretend you’re like

the thawing snow, not slush, and a ray of light is

melting ice around.  Sit down and watch Suzy.  Suzy’s

pelvis arches gracefully in front of his face.  There is

goodness in this cold.  God must be all scintillation,

someone whose paradise is his paradise.