By: Melissa Jean

As a child in church, she thought the story of the Plagues sounded like Paradise. Imagine a room filled with frogs, their legs strong and firm in your hands. Imagine a blanket of bugs, their sunlit wings singing on your skin. Imagine a glorious parade of nonhuman bodies, living and moving, imagine yourself humming along to the chorus of breath. This was god. Imagine a lion on your doorstep. Imagine a sky lit up with fire and ice, or the long deep calm of a night that lasts for days.

Later she understood that she was a barometer, that the only thing that mattered was the climate. (Maybe others are like this, too? Every mood built by the weather?) She cared little for the humans but loved the creatures. She thought god might be the rain or god might be a cloud, because these were the things that set her thrumming. She thought god might be her gut bacteria, controlling her every move, but when she said so at parties people looked at her like she was from another planet. She thought she might be from another planet. She thought god might be an octopus. She thought there might not be a god.  She learned not to say any of these things aloud.