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  • I keep my bears in a Swisher Sweets cigar box.
    I take them out in emergencies or moments of acute nostalgia.

    Meishe is missing her nose, and I made her a fake arm.
    I made outfits for them, camping gear, and backpacks, we played together in the front yard under the large spruce tree, before it was cut down.
    The blue bird is also candleholder, where the mouse is sitting, and it is from Poland.
    The mouse holds a piece of corn.

    I bought the small wooden elephant, zebra, rhino and giraffe, the glass dog, the onyx squirrel, with my allowance money.
    There was small toy store, across the street from a penny candy shop, I would go in and gaze at the rows of possibilities, some out of reach, for my nickel and dime dreams.

    This morning I needed to make a small shrine before I could get on with the business of being an adult.
    The postcards from the National Museum of Taiwan are from the “Journey to the West” epic painting cycles.
    I cut out a picture of an antique carpet from an auction catalog and gave them a rug.
    A picture of a tapestry fills in the background.
    The painting frame is period, gold leaf.
    The turned detail we made in our shop, and I silver leafed it.

    This is a portrait of some of my early friends.
    I used to build dollhouses out of cardboard boxes and decorate them and I thought about doing that this morning but it would have gone on all day.
    Maybe the activity would go on for weeks as I built castles, villages, cities and colonies.
    My house would have filled up with a substitute universe with increasingly detailed alleyways and turrets.
    I might never have come back.

    But I had adult things to do and my head was too big to fit inside the portal to childhood.
    I thought about this again at lunch and cried into my sandwich.
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