In my wanderings today, I nearly stepped on a rat. I didn’t stare, though after the initial repulsion my gaze was inevitably drawn back, and in that moment I saw how its insides had been squeezed out through its anus as if, I suppose, it had been run over by a car. Though I only briefly saw, I cannot now expel from my mind the color of spilled entrails, the appearance of sharp teeth, the matted, greasy-looking fur. And while I sat in my pew I thought about the cruelty of nature, the destruction of hurricanes, electric slashes of lightning in nighttime skies, and how every animal and insect has its own particular predator, its own particular prey, and that this is what God created, all of it is His intention and because of this, I cannot believe there is not some form of judgment after death. Such thoughts I have learned to call religion, this is a shared and practiced faith: the scent of incense, incantation, a madwoman scurrying among statues of the saints.