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Some Thursdays are like this

August 4, 2016

I unwrap the bagel—stuffed with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, bacon—and it sits there, stable, ready, waiting for my first bite.

But I have to stretch my jaw to get my mouth around it, and that is the moment when I realize I burned the roof of my mouth yesterday without knowing it, and the bagel’s surface is awfully rough, and biting down will leave the taste of iron on my tongue. With each bite, the fillings slide around, redistributing themselves into something less balanced, less pleasing.

This is not the breakfast I expected.

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Three-fifths

July 8, 2016

The last line of the haiku should have been five syllables, but he stopped at three.

He was out of words, after all, and he had spent much of the day thinking about the U.S. Constitution.

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Vast

June 22, 2016

How vast, she said, and the ocean’s edge rushed over her toes. How does anyone find the other side?

There are stars to follow, he replied. And, sometimes, mermaids sing the path clear.

That seems risky, she said. What if it’s cloudy? What if the wind drowns out the melodies?

You have a wise heart and a good boat, he said. They will get you where you need to go.

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Watched

February 24, 2016

We’re being watched all the time, he said.

You’re paranoid, she said, but far off in the sky, she could see a helicopter, hovering like a sliver in the clouds.

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Havana dreams

February 22, 2016

She imagined what it would be like to ride in the back seat of a Chevrolet Bel Air with the windows down while her driver took her along the Malecón. She imagined the sun setting behind her as they drove, bathing the city in a peach glow.

When she dreamed, she scrubbed away Havana’s crumbling buildings, the empty store shelves, the secret police. She thought, only, of the serenity of a quiet city, the light, the sound of the lapping the sea wall. She was as likely to get there as to the moon. Truth did not hamper her.

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Edge

February 12, 2016

Was it the edge of the ocean, or the edge of something smaller? All she knew is she could see a broken version herself reflected just past where the water lapped her feet. She could not fathom how far it might be to the other side, or how deep the water might descend along the way.

Even so, she breathed in deeply, then stepped into the water. It would take too long to go around. She would have to swim as long as she could, and hope, at the end of it all, she had reached the other side.

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Worst case scenario

February 10, 2016

No matter how rare the worst case scenario, she thought about it all the time, her brain constantly inventing scenarios so horrible she could not even whisper them aloud.

Does it make you more grateful when things turn out OK? he asked.

No, she said, thinking about the buzzing nausea that flooded her system most days, leaving her twitchy and damp. Even then, she was poised to duck under the table to evade shots fired from an automatic weapon, the blast from a suicide bomber in a bulky vest, the debris falling as a tornado tore the building apart.

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