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It was not snowing when I got back. The airport could not hold me, bags somehow waiting like sleeping dogs on a stalled conveyor belt, no leery-eyed customs officer to poke in them as I wheel past, just the slick floor of the airport and a fast taxi. E called me every few minutes, asking how far away I was like she did when she was little. And then I am somehow back from an epic journey to the States and Mexico, zippers holding tough against the gifts inside the luggage. That smell at the back of V's neck, the first kiss with N, the jumping around, the wise-cracks, the cup of sweet black tea that grows cold somewhere on the floor as I pull the bags apart.

The living room looks like two Christmases have passed.

I slump into the couch and see that the trees outside are yellow, and an old wind is bending them hard. I feel different, maybe lighter, maybe more clear about what I must do now. But first I will slice into the cake N made that rests under a cloud of powered sugar. I will …

a new chapter



The canons are fake, but look real enough. A perfect smoke ring drifts away from one - a happy accident that catches the attention of a row of photographers, clicking away with giant lenses and memory cards filling up. I hold my breath, the tip of my finger completely itchy at this point until I hear the thud of hooves, and smell them approaching. You have to click earlier than you want to, that is the lesson.

A young soldier stands with his hands behind his back, to keep us from crowding the field or touching the barriers too much. A nod, a step forward, a stern word. The photographers cram between each other, crouching on the ground and shooting between legs, standing on platforms. I hover in a little corner, picking my shots, smelling the sulphurous air.

A few weeks later, back from the lab I see them. Here are chaotic moments, twisting in a great sweep of history, framed by our mundane, modern world.


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