for elder hampton, a mormon i met on the 87 bus in 2002, and whose first name i actually thought was “elder.”

“just remember,” elder hampton solemnly said,

“god loves you. and so do i,”

a sentiment he emphasized by gently

placing his paw on my hand resting on the

bar top.

“why elder,” i said, “i had no idea.”

as I flipped my hand

over, curling

my fingers around the kid’s knuckles

letting my mischeivous and only slightly

insincere smile

speak for itself.

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