When we rolled into Iraq, newspapers predicted more than half of us would die. Eyes masked by tinted goggles, we assumed stoic expressions or else joked and slugged shoulders embroidered with Airborne tabs, that narrow strip proclaiming our shared religion. I remember the certitude settling into my bones that I would not come back whole, accepting that sour fact the same way a losing wrestler shakes his opponent’s hand before the ref raises it in victory. Looking back on my younger self, so full of bravado and jingoistic pride, I ponder the multiverse theory of existence. On another plane, perhaps the predictions were correct, my corpse rolled into an unmarked grave and covered by a dune’s shifting sand. But then there would also be another world with another version of myself that never went to war, never bargained with God to drop his hammer on someone else, never unleashed the black dog within his heart and set its gnashing teeth to work.