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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

heavy weighs the crown

I've been living on the 9th floor of a building that resembles a castle for a week now. There is a little grey kitten that sometimes sleeps on my feet, but more often makes a lot of noise in the middle of the night. There are giant windows that look out on a hard black sky, and double plumes of smoke curling slowly towards the stars. There is a half-broken chair in the kitchen. There is a washing machine I'll eventually have to figure out. I need dishes and light bulbs and forks and spoons. I need to get the drain in the bathtub working better.

I understand why divorced and separated men become so depressed. Somehow, they must pay for everything their family requires, and take care of themselves at the same time. Waking up with empty beer bottles, hoping the milk is still OK, hoping they have coffee. Hoping girls still find them funny, attractive, interesting. Looking in the mirror, sucking in your gut, wondering how your socks never seem to match.

The sky glows a pale blue now. There is a hard, crisp snow falling. It makes little bell sounds against the windows. The cat pushes against my feet.

My daughter's toys and clothing litters the floor and I leave them there, to feel like she is just in the other room.

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