norbert kraft | skinning a rabbit

14 09 2008

Poetry Dispatch No. 251 | September 14, 2008


SKINNING A RABBIT by Norbert Kraft

I rip off
pull fur
down back
peeling it
over belly
yank it
over head
across paws
drop it on
old newspaper
insert knife
where naked legs
spread apart
slash down
thru tender belly
as thin blood
drip drips
& guts bulge
stick hand into slit
grab handfuls
of warm guts
which I tear
from back
chop head & paws
off with hatchet
plop whole wad
on top of fur .
wrap corners
of newspaper
around bloody mess
compress it
into ball
to bury
in garden
drop leftover flesh
in pail of water—

staring down
at a shrivelled
pink embryo
in reddening water
I blink to
the large streaking blur
my shotgun
blasted so still
& wonder why
I pulled the trigger
with such fever
the knife
with such relish
the guts
with such satisfaction.

[from THE HEARTLAND II, edited by Locien Stryk, Northern Illinois University Press, 1975]

ed markowski | candidates 9/3/08

9 09 2008

NOTES from the UNDERGROUND… No.150 | September 9, 2008


candidates 9/3/08

election news a woman spits up sticks & stones

sharpening the darkness of her smile a poet

the color of a crow on the clothesline is perfect

-ed markowski

Editor’s Note: Sometimes you leave it to the power (political) of the poet to find truth in words. More of Markowski’s mastery of the small poem can be found at: . “Candidates 9/3/08” will be posted there as well. –Norbert Blei

norbert blei | the politics of literature

7 09 2008

NOTES from the UNDERGROUND… No.149 | September 7, 2008


An Introduction, Confession, Explanation, Claims, Disclaims…and So It Goes…

(Kurt Vonnegut, Thou Shouldst Be Living at This Hour)

I used to deal with politics in various online writings: Blei-Lines, The Mourning News, Word Bites, etc. …but finally let it go. For any writer seriously devoted to crafting fiction, poetry, personal essays, getting into political word-slinging will eventually do you in, eat you alive. Turn you into the very thing you hate.

We all know the other guy’s an idiot, the other side is destroying our constitution, our county…you have the right to do this but not the right to do that and if you don’t think the way I do, you’re the enemy. The word is out, the deck is stacked, the system is in a shambles, the culture is corrupt, nobody’s telling the truth!…someone has to shout: “Fire!”

To get my life back, I had to diminish the sound. Spread the word in other ways,

Continue to mine what it means to be human. THAT path. THAT way. What makes us both idiots and saints in the same body/mind. Re-awaken the spirit as few politicians do. THAT”S what matters.

With the piece on censorship I sent out yesterday (mainly to my e-mail list), I saw an opening in the politics of the present moment where I might “get back into it” occasionally, just a little, by bringing to light situations where politics and literature crossed a certain line. And the fact (fact) that a Mayor in Alaska (who happened to be thrust into the national spotlight as a candidate for the vice presidency of the United States last week) had issues with what should or should not be read in the Mayor’s own city library…well…it needs to be made note of. Especially since the mayor isn’t answering any questions—or allowed to answer any questions by party handlers. (Now, that’s a HOT remark…the kind I don’t want to get into as I consider occasionally exploring this new, sub-topic in NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: The Politics of Literature.)

We all know the problem with the web is too much freedom. By now, almost anyone who uses the internet has been burned by one story or another that he or she felt was too good to be true and just had to pass on to someone else. Anyone can say just about any damn thing he wants in cyber space. (No different than a number of talk shows.) And frequently does. And you can “Believe it or not!” As Ripley once gave the reader a choice..

Freedom inevitably generates irresponsibility. Take the ‘truth’ of so many political ads on TV. But wait…I’m getting off-topic again.

Okay…a couple of people challenged that reading list I sent out yesterday. (I did too). Did such a list exist? (Some of the titles and authors were even misspelled. I corrected them.) Where did the Mayor find the list? Or was it handed to her by someone, some other organization, some religious group?? How was it presented to the City Librarian? Was it?

All valid questions. Yes, it’s an old list. But censorship is an old issue—still fought every day in America. I battled it when I taught high school English. Many communities and schools are still battling it today. (Just Google the word. You’ll find enough to read on the issue from now till the next election.)

My main concern was the fact that a Mayor in America (now running for national office) tried to fire a qualified librarian of the City Library because she refused to remove some books that the Mayor wanted off the shelves.

There are lists and lists of books in America, constantly generated by one group or another that wants to deny any reader his right to read any damn book he pleases. And when any one, including a public official (paid by the taxpayer) says, “No. You are not allowed to read THAT book, my good citizen-American” That’s a problem. And, I would suggest, a really BIG problem for anyone seeking higher office in this country to represent our constitutional rights.

Below, is the original blog sent yesterday…updated with various links. If this is NOT the list, my apologies. If this list is incomplete, my apologies. If the Mayor would finally speak up, answer some questions from the real American public, tell us the truth about this book banning incident (and a few other things)…my applause! –Norbert Blei

P.S. A number of people also wrote asking that I link the original e-mail posting to one of my websites, so they might more easily forward the information. With this posting, that has now been done. AND, there will be further, additional postings to NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: THE POLITICS OF LITERATURE, when the spirit (and information) move me. –Norbert Blei


While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.Anne KilKenny, resident of Alaska

A list of books Sarah Palin attempted to ban in Alaska

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Ronald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

FURTHER (directly/indirectly related) FOLLOW-UPS:,0,1290251.story

And in case you missed this one (in the Chicago Tribune)…read & witness the YouTube video



jeffrey winke | the maverick

5 09 2008

NOTES from the UNDERGROUND No.148 | September 5, 2008


Hi Norb –

I’ve decided that I want people to refer to me as a maverick. As an opinion leader in the writing / publishing world, I’m hoping that you’ll take a leadership role in my image remake. Despite the fact that I’m living a traditional boring 8-to-5 life, I want to add zest to my reputation. I also like that being called a maverick can explain away any faults, errors in judgment and screw-ups. If there is the opportunity to talk about me to anyone — say for example the clerk where you pick up your dry cleaning, you might say: “Did I ever tell you about this guy I know, Jeff Winke? (soft chuckle) Well, he’s such a maverick!” You have to include the soft chuckle because that really seals the deal. It has to be the right kind of soft chuckle though. It has to be more of a boys-will-be-boys type of chuckle — not a sneering chuckle or a lecherous chuckle or a what-an-idiot chuckle.

Do you think you can do that for me? I appreciate your help.

Jeff “The Maverick” Winke

Following a note from the webmaster:

Winke lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a downtown industrial loft with his wife, two-thirds of his children and a posse of four cats where he plies his skills as a PR counselor, magazine editor and adjunct university professor at the Milwaukee Center of Upper Iowa University.

Jeffrey Winke co-edited the first small press North American haiku anthology, the Third Coast Haiku Anthology, published in 1977. His most recent book, What’s Not There: Selected Haiku of Jeffrey Winke is a 2002 Merit Book Award winner. His motion graphis haiku collection called Chances can be viewed here…and has been designated a “Cool Website.”

Recent books include PR Idea Book: 50 Proven Tools That Really Work (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2006) and the haiku collection What’s Not There (Chicago: Deep North Press, 2002) and Coquette Sensual haiku (Milwaukee:Distant Thunder Press, 2008) which is available now.

Sensual haiku by Jeffrey Winke

Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Winke. Design by Steve Monsen. Distant Thunder Press, 234 N. Broadway, Unit 513 Milwaukee, WI 53202 USA. Cover photo “passion” by Lev Dolgachov.

attractive woman
her shadow falls
into my arms

5 EURO incl. shipment cost world-wide by clicking here…

That Smirking Face

by Jeffrey Winke

a collection of haiku and haibun by Jeffrey Winke featuring drawings by Matt M. Cipov Distant Thunder Press, 234 N. Broadway, Unit 513 Milwaukee, WI 53202 USA.

A collaborative broadside featuring Jeff’s dark urban haiku and haibun with original art by Matt M. Cipov. “I found his business card on the floor of a coffee shop and was compelled to look up his website,” Winke says. “His direct, edgy style reflects exactly the tone of the haiku and haibun I’m currently writing.”

5 EURO incl. shipment cost world-wide by clicking here…

thomas mcgrath | letters to an imaginary friend

1 09 2008

Poetry Dispatch No. 250 | September 1, 2008

The Poet Working: Labor Day, 2008

(In Praise of American Poet, Thomas McGrath)

Unions, blue-collar workers, straw bosses, graveyard shifts, punching a time-clock, piece-work, AFL, CIO, Teamsters, IWW, coal miners, time-and-a-half and overtime, sick-pay, work clothes, work boots, work gloves, strikes, scabs, farm workers, supervisors, break-time, Thermos jugs, lunch buckets, walking-the-picket-line…the whole lexicon of the way work once was…was once described in America where ‘labor’ today seems almost undercover. Something whispered, out-of-sight…not to be mentioned (except in terms of migrant workers) in these days of factory closings, outsourcing, unemployment, minimum wages…used-to-be American dreams, dreams deferred.

Readers of this site may recall previous dispatches and high praise of a most neglected American poet, Thomas McGrath, who both worked and stood for that old fashioned American dream machine—in a union-of-humanity sort of way.

I still hold that his book, LETTER TO AN IMAGINARY FRIEND is a literary classic of first rank, as significant a part of our American culture as Thoreau’s WALDEN POND, Whitman’s LEAVES OF GRASS, Sandburg’s, THE PEOPLE YES, Steinbeck’s GRAPES OF WRATH. It has been side-stepped, looked over, lost and kept out of our classrooms far too long—for political reasons.

Here’s an excerpt…a small sense of the grand sweep, beautiful language, of a book that still rings true, captures and holds up to the light the spirit of who we are, or once were.

Take your time. Give every word and line your attention. On this day above all days, listen to what McGrath has to say for himself, for us. – Norbert Blei

by Thomas McGrath


That was the year, too, of the labor troubles on the rigs—

The first, or the last maybe. I heard the talk.

It was dull. Then, one day—windy—

We were threshing flax I remember, toward the end of the run-

After quarter-time I think—the slant light falling

Into the blackened stubble that shut like a fan toward the headland—

The strike started then. Why then I don’t know.

Cal spoke for the men and my uncle cursed him.

I remember that ugly sound, like some animal cry touching me

Deep and cold, and I ran toward them.

And the fighting started.

My uncle punched him. I heard the breaking crunch

Of his teeth going and the blood leaped out of his mouth

Over his neck and shirt—I heard their gruntings and strainings

Like love at night or men working hard together,

And heard the meaty thumpings, like beating a grain sack

As my uncle punched his body—I remember the dust

Jumped from his shirt,

He fell in the blackened stubble


Was smashed in the face

Stumbled up



Lay on his side in the harsh long slanting sun

And the blood ran out of his mouth and onto his shoulder.

Then I heard the quiet and that I was crying-

They had shut down the engine.

The last of the bundle-teams

Was coming in at a gallop.

Crying and cursing

Yelled at the crew: “Can’t you jump the son-of-a-bitch!

Cal ! Cal ! get up”

But he didn’t get up.

None of them moved.

Raging at my uncle I ran.

Got slapped,

Ran sobbing straight to the engine.

I don’t know what I intended. To start the thing maybe,

To run her straight down the belt and into the feeder

Like a vast iron bundle.

I jammed the drive-lever over, lashed back on the throttle,

And the drive belt popped and jumped and the thresher groaned,

The beaters clutched at the air, knives flashed,

And I wrestled the clutch.

Far away, I heard them

Yelling my name, but it didn’t sound like my own,

And the clutch stuck. (Did I want it to stick?) I hammered it

And the fireman came on a run and grabbed me and held me

Sobbing and screaming and fighting, my hand clenched

On the whistle rope while it screamed down all of our noises-

Stampeding a couple of empties into the field—

A long, long blast, hoarse, with the falling, brazen

Melancholy of engines when the pressure’s falling.

Quiet then. My uncle was cursing the Reds,

Ordering the rig to start, but no one started.

The men drifted away.

The water monkey

Came in with his load.


He got no answer.

Cal’s buddy and someone else got him up

On an empty rack and they started out for home,

Him lying on the flat rack-bed.

Still crying, I picked up his hat that lay in the churned up dust,

And left my rack and team and my uncle’s threats,

And cut for home across the river quarter.


Green permission

Dusk of the brass whistle . .

Gooseberry dark.

Green moonlight of willow.

Ironwood, basswood and the horny elm. ; :

June berry; box-elder; thick in the thorny brake

The black choke cherry, the high broken ash and the slick

White bark of poplar.

I called the king of the woods,

The wind-sprung oak.

I called the queen of ivy,

Maharani to his rut-barked duchies;

Summoned the foxgrape, the lank woodbine,

And the small flowers: the wood violets, the cold

Spears of the iris, the spikes of the ghostflower

It was before the alphabet of trees

Or later.

Runeless I stood in the green rain

Of the leaves.



Echo of distant horns.


Under the hush and whisper of the wood,

I heard the echoes of the little war.

A fox barked in the hills; and a red hawk boomed

Down on the darkening flats in a feathery splash of hunger.

Silence and waiting.

The rivery rustle

Of a hunting mink.

Upstream in the chuckling shallows

A beaver spanked the water where, in its time,

The dam would be where my brother, now in his diapers,

Would trap for the beaver’s grandsons.

I could not

See in that green dark.

I went downstream

Below the crossing where I’d swum the midnight river

On my way home from a move.

I put my clothes

Stinking with sweat and dusty (I thought:

How the dust had jumped from Cal’s shirt!)

I put them on the broken stump.

I dived from the hummock where the cut-bank crumbled.

Under the river the silence was humming, singing:


In the arrest and glaucous light

Delicate, snake-like, the water-weed waved and retracted.

The water sang. The blood in my ears whistled.

I roared up out of the river into the last of the sunlight.

Then: I heard the green singing of the leaves;

The water-mystery,

The night-deep and teasing terror on the lone river

Sang in my bones,

And under its eves and seas I broke my weeping,

In that deeper grieving,

The long, halting—the halt and the long hurry—

Toward the heaving, harsh, the green blurring of the salt

mysterious sea.


Later, climbing the coulee hills in the sandy dusk,

After sundown in the long northern twilight,

The night hawk circling where the ragamuffin crows

Steered for the cloudy wood;

In that dead calm, in that flat light,

(The water darkening where the cattle stood to their knees)

I heard the singing of the little clan.

Comfort of crickets and a thrum of frogs.

Sleepy rustle of birds.

In the dusk the bats hustled.

The hawk wheeled and whirled on the tall perch of the air;

Whirled, fell

Down a long cliff of light, sliding from day into dusk.

Something squealed in the brake.

The crickets were silent.

The cattle lifted their blank and unregardant

Gaze to the hills.

Then, up the long slope of air on his stony, unwavering wing

The hawk plunged upward into a shower of light.

The crickets sang. The frogs

Were weaving their tweeds in the river shallows.

Hawk swoop.



The formal calls of a round-dance.

This riddling of the river-mystery I could not read.

Then, climbing the high pass of my loss, I tramped

Up the dark coulee.

The farmyard dark was dappled

With yellowy ponds of light, where the lanterns hung.

It was quiet and empty.

In the hot clutter

Of the kitchen my mother was weeping. “He wouldn’t eat.”

She said, meaning Cal.

She had a womanly notion

(Which she didn’t really believe) that all man’s troubles

Could be ended by eating—it was a gesture she made

To soothe the world.

My father had driven my uncle out of the yard

Because Cal was our man, and not to be mistreated

Any more than horses or dogs. He was also my father’s friend.

I got some supper and took it out to the barn.

In the lemony pale light of a lantern, at the tar end,

He lay in a stall. His partner sat in the straw

Beside him, whittling, not looking at me. I didn’t ask

Where his gun was, that slept in an oily rag

In his suitcase.

I put the food beside him

As I’d done with sick dogs.

He was gone where my love

Nor my partisanship could reach him.

Outside the barn my father knelt in the dust

In the lantern light, fixing a harness. Wanting

Just to be around, I suppose, to try to show Cal

He couldn’t desert him.

He held the tubular punch

With its spur-like rowle, punching a worn hame strap

And shook the bright copper rivets out of a box.

“Hard lines, Tom,” he said. “Hard lines, Old Timer.”

I sat in the lantern’s circle, the world of men,

And heard Gal breathe in his stall.

An army of crickets

Rasped in my ear.

“Don’t hate anybody.”

My father said. `

I went toward the house through the dark.

That night the men all left.

Along toward morning

I heard the rattle of Fords. They had left Cal there

In the bloody dust that day but they wouldn’t work after that.

“The folded arms of the workers” I heard Warren saying,

Sometime in the future where Mister Peets lies dreaming

Of a universal voting-machine.

And Showboat

Quinn goes by (New York, later) “The fuckin’ proletariat

Is in love with its fuckin chains. How do you put this fuckin

Strike on a cost-plus basis?”

There were strikes on other rigs that day, most of them lost,

And, on the second night, a few barns burned.

After that a scattering of flat alky bottles,

Gasoline filled, were found, buried in bundles.

“The folded arms of the workers.”

I see Sodaberg

Organizing the tow boats.

I see him on Brooklyn Bridge,

The fizzing dynamite fuse as it drops on the barges.

Then Mac with his mournful face comes round the corner

(New York) up from the blazing waterfront, preaching

His strikes.

And my neighbors are striking on Marsh Street.

(L.A., and later)

And the hawk falls.

A dream-borne singing troubles my still boy’s sleep

In the high night where Cal had gone:

They came through

The high passes, they crossed the darl mountains

In a month of snow.

Finding the plain, the bitter water, the iron

Rivers of the black north


in the high plateaus of that country

Climbing toward sleep

But far

from the laughter.

[excerpt, from Part III, Letter to an Imaginary Friend, Alan Swallow Press, 1962]

Much more on Thomas McGrath can be found here…

john bennett | two for a day

13 08 2008

Poetry Dispatch No. 249 | August 12, 2008

Two for a Day

from John Bennett

Note from the Editor:

Put a little John Bennett in your life.
You will be better for it. Live it.

Books at: Hcolompress

Norbert Blei

High-energy Young Ladies

John Bennett

Make sense of a sunbeam, calculate a wave, calibrate a wolf howl, draw lines in the dust, go grim with a rifle defending the motherland, fatherland, land on your feet and start running, the hounds bay and the fox hunt is on.

Back and forth between the particular and the germane like a praying mantis lost in a butcher shop, cowboys and cowgirls riding side-saddle into the arena, gladiators peering through slits in spiked helmets, who do you love?
Is it me, could it possibly be after all these years of false starts, heaps of gutted crab piled high in the corner?

I’ve got things gone amiss in life, a granddaughter gone astray, a lover with her arms crossed in a pout, a trick knee, heart, pony, imagination off in the ditch, tangled in carnage and confetti.

I wake with a whistle, slap my head and hop to it, I’ve still got a trick up my sleeve. Secrets intact I skip out the door into my rat-trap conveyance and with lights blinking red all around me roar off. “Java, java, java,” I think, my life reduced to a coffee bean. “Plunk your magic twanger,” I think, my vocabulary shrouded in code, ancient kid shows on the radio displacing Nietzsche and Kant.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, off we go with the first cigarette of the day burning bright like a blowtorch between my once kissable lips.

The first rig at the drive-thru, the glass slides back and there they are, three blond, dark and tall beauties, a wild crazy perfection that drops death to its knees.

“Ho!” I sing out and trigger delight in them. They all three dance and glide to the window like goldfish in a pond, as if we’d just met in a dream.

“What’ll it be?” says the tall one, and “Yes indeed!” I say. “What will it be!” Then we’re lost for words as the universe sings all around us.

I drive off with a 20-oz. drip and pass a row of pink, red and white hollyhocks along an old wooden fence just as the sun rises up over the ridge. I burst out in song and for a moment have the world by the tail.

A Day in the Life

John Bennett

Here’s a message from god. A glimpse behind the curtain. A tour guide through the seven dancing veils. An eye opener, a spine tingler, a twist of lemon. This can’t go on forever. The ink runs out, the paper turns brittle and bursts into flame, the alarm malfunctions.

This morning three laughing girls at a coffee-house drive-up set my heart dancing and launched me into the day. Twenty minutes ago and thirteen hours later there was only one girl left at the window, and she’d been there all day. I’d just woken up from a nap full of bad dreams and she was pulling a triple shift. The dance was gone from our eyes. We exchanged courtesies at the end of the transaction and I drove off.

Now I’m sitting in my car on the overlook at the top of this hill, last light in the sky, an entire lifetime lived in a day.


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