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the white table

The days are not long. The nights are short. Guitars are hiding in cases, with scraps of paper tucked inside. The pen is full. There is a fresh notebook, with creamy pages. The little white desk is in the middle of the living room, a cascade of receipts and laundry perched on it.

I clean it off, have lunch as it stares back at me. This focal point, this fulcrum where my thoughts become real, this cheap folding table from Ikea. It is familiar, and patient.

the heroine's coat


I took this picture right next to our house an a Saturday afternoon. The street this woman is walking down leads to a playground, eventually to a gate and a main road. The only people that walk here are returning to their parked car, or to find a child that has stayed on the swings too long. It occurred to me that this woman was neither of those things. She was just wandering away from traffic, away from the jangle of snowplows. Her hands clasped behind her back are an odd tradition here, some Soviet habit with no name. The snow was falling wet and heavy that day. I liked the trail of her footsteps.

That was almost two years ago.

Today I saw a long coat on a woman and suddenly recognized it. I still could not see her face, but that coat had become legend. I would recognize it anywhere. This is the minor miracle of the street photograph, recording the unnamable. She walked the same way, with a swaying side-to-side penguin shuffle. I hurried home, with a strange sense of satisfaction and possibility.


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