Moses in Retirement

Ruby Rorty

On Tuesday Moses parts a red sea of ladybugs with the cane he keeps in the umbrella stand. The right half of the sea murmurs, “The world was made for you, Moses.” The left half of the sea hisses, “Moses, you are ash and dust and nothing else.” Moses mops his brow, leads a trail ofducklings who have imprinted on him between the two writhing red walls to the glass pond beyond. Beyond the property line, a swarm of cameras and clicking pens jostles for pictures. They ignore Moses’s hand-painted NO PAPARAZZI sign. Or else they have justified themselves to themselves. They are not paparazzi, they are journalists. Or, they are not paparazzi, they are followers. Or, they are not paparazzi, they are religious scholars. Moses has considered adding another line to the sign: “Also, I haven’t talked to Him in centuries”. But he fears this will backfire. The daily mail will run a feature: MOSES AND GOD, AT ODDS? or NO NEW TABLETS FOR THE ONCE-PROPHET. Moses doesn’t want that. He wants to eat his grapefruit and water his rose bushes . He wants to tend to the basil plant growing on the window sill. He wants to learn not to pray every night, because he hasn’t heard that voice in his ear in so long he can no longer conjure its echo. He wants to curse god unflinchingly. He wants more than a mirage. He wants real ducklings, real ladybugs, even real paparazzi. Moses looks out his window to see sand rise and fall forever. On holy days, a gentle wind ripples across the dunes.

Ruby Rorty is a writer and researcher living in Chicago, IL. Her work has appeared in HAD, hex, and the Bear Creek Gazette, among others. Find her on Twitter @Rorty.Ruby and Instagram at @ruby.rorty.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021