by Christen Buckler
I am walking home one night carrying orange juice, laundry detergent, thin plastic bags, my hair blowing in the wind of a hurricane destined to miss me. God shows up and whispers in that snooty way he has: You will die someday, too, my little chickadee. "I know," I say in a regular-sized voice because I am not one to whisper (but of course he knows that). "You could have made me prettier, you know, could have made me great, bone-white, skinny and articulate, you could have made my heart beat in tune with your earth and you could have made me serve you in ways everyone else can only imagine." I know, he says, still in a whisper (because he knows I am always straining to hear), but I could have made you any way I fucking wanted to, my robin, my tiny sparrow. He leaves to take care of more important things and I bow my head mostly because I am humbled, but also because I fall in love too easily with straight-talkers who set me right and then leave.
Christen Buckler, 22, is a creative writing major at Florida State University. She will begin studying with Robert Olen Butler - the 1993 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction - in the spring. This frightens her more than she could ever express.