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I Got Your Back (Interlude for the Be-Fri)
by Mary L. Hamilton

If she had her way she'd be inside. She'd shrink herself down the way they do in the movies and she'd navigate from the interior. She'd invade your veins and slide your spine like a joke and tickle your ribs and play with your soul when nobody's looking.
    She'd take you to school and learn you on all the basics of loving and laughing and rolling with the wind when the sun doesn't know your name.
    She's going to paint a picture.
    "I'm gonna paint a picture."
    She could hang it on the wall. She could burn it. She could spread the ashes over the ocean and say a little prayer and maybe she could believe in reincarnation. Instead, she believes in the picture she sees. In the pieces of her canvas floating on the water. Absorbing the ocean. And sinking. Falling into another place and another dream. Another painting maybe. Another you.
    She'll write a song.
    "I'm gonna write a song."
    And the melody will be you. And the melody will be brunch on Sunday morning. And cinnamon rolls. And ugly dresses in store windows. And long car rides looking out rear windows. And she'll sing it in the subway and she'll make enough in spare change to buy you a new scarf that you'll wrap around your neck when it snows and all you can remember is summer and the way you closed your eyes when you first saw her. Because to believe was to see and to see was to steal. And how could you steal that?
    She's going to shed a tear.
    "I'm gonna cry."
    And her tears are going to be tidal waves that drown islands and land on shores you've never heard of and can't pronounce. Her tears are going to be tragic plays that are acted out on stage in dramatic costumes. But the costumes don't matter because it could be a play of shadow puppets and you'd still cry. And you'd search the corners of your neighborhood for a drugstore that sold bandages big enough to cover all the wounds.
    The two of you are quiet. The two of you don't say a word. The planet's been kicked off its axis and the whole world is waiting for Superman to fly in fast circles and make things right. What else is there to do but to shut up and watch the earth spin crooked? And to know that if this is bad we can handle worse.
    She's going to fly, you know.
    "I've got wings."
    She'll make you forget where you are in your course of things happening. You want to press pause. You want to hold on to one moment. Good. Or bad, but you'd prefer good. You want to hold on long enough to paint the walls and sew curtains and buy some flowers to put in the window. She'll dance you across the sky like a daydream and you'll have to pinch yourself to prove that you're real.
    She'll write a story.
    "I'm gonna write a story."
    But when you open the cover and turn the pages all you'll find are hours. And all you'll see are days gone by you spent wishing things had been different. But if they had been different you wouldn't be here right now. Riding in the backseat of a car with the windows rolled down, driving a little too fast with the music a little too loud. But you don't care because this is the first warm day since a long winter and you barely remember the last blue sky. And you don't care because, if this is the sum of all your days, you like the math.



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Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca

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The Suburban Swindle


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