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February 4, 2014

     “Are you going to speak to me this time?”
     The woman with half a forehead looked at him, smiling slightly, her quiet brown eyes regarding him as enquiringly as a child’s entering the world.
     The hole in her head was strangely symmetrical, neater than you’d expect from an exit wound and formed a window from the center of her right eyebrow to her right ear through which you could see the wrinkles of her brain.
     He was, as always, shocked when she began lifting her hand, a process that was slow and sudden simultaneously, the hand with fingers missing, taken as trophies and he never could think of anything to say about it except, “I didn’t do that, that wasn’t me.”
     He turned away from her to the mirror behind the bar, drank, signaled for a refill and looked at himself, the thin face fractured, riven like a west Oklahoma creek in August when the water burns off and the mud bed splits under the sun.
     The lady cast no image in the mirror.  She could, spirit people can do about anything, but she chose to leave him alone there, a solitary student of his own caricature.  He drank, signaled for a refill and, turning back to her said, “Do you hear my prayers?”


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