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  • The wind comes charging toward the Maginot Line of my front yard: a picket fence. It has yet to snow and the leaves explode through the gaps, across the clearing, and into the house. I try to close the door, but the trees wave their guns at me and in my panic I find myself unable to complete the simplest human tasks.

    Then I see her, like a tank in the distance. She meanders down the sidewalk trying to remain anonymous in the crisp autumn air, but her baby buggy full of clanking glass bottles gives her away. She sounds like artillery fire. She has no face in the fading twilight and her loose, black, ripped overcoat adorns her frail body like a tattered flag strewn over a casket. She occasionally slows to drag her left foot (they are all wounded) – scrape, scratch, crunch – over the crumbling concrete, creating the cracks that the rest of us attempt to avoid, moats of fire and blood. The houses rise behind her like darkened, bombed-out sepulchers of the past, but still seemingly remain ahead of her. When the snow comes it will bring out some color in her black coat and perhaps pull the object that she is into being, ripping it from the shadow that is limping and clanging down the street as the day’s last yellow maple leaf falls against a pale pink sky.

    She rounds the corner, a car horn blows, like a bomb, and she is gone.

    The ash may be mixing with snow now. It is hard to tell.
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