Samuel was walking beside me,
his awkward limping gait intensified by his size.
His plaid flannel shirt buttoned up tightly against his chin.
Cold November night in New Hampshire. We could see our breath.
As usual, he wanted to measure his behavior against that of others.
This evening it was a now transferred resident,
who I was able to piece together from the looping conversation,
had hit another resident at the farm where he lives
with a piece of wood
and had subsequently taken a bite out of the wood.

"Will I have to go to Nebraska?" Samuel asked.
Sometimes it is Eureka.
No one knows why he perceives these places as punishment.
He rubbed his mittened hands together repeatedly
as we walked past the neighbor's sheep barn.

"That's not something you would ever do, and you know that," I said repeatedly.
But it was no use.

"Will I have to go to Nebraska?"

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