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I. Seashells rest in glass jars that line the walls of my sister’s favorite diner. The world is an open, pearl-less oyster; all splendors are lost to pale hands.

II. I feel as hollow as a sparrow but nowhere near as free, and I am becoming familiar with this sensation. The late fall wind reminds me that I am whole and bitter.

III. I can’t afford to live alone yet each day I trudge my concrete steps in solitude.

IV. My weekly trips to the drugstore are done strictly when the streetlamps work, and then with closed fists. I try to work up the nerve to ask the cashier their name, but my tongue turns to sand every time.

V. Sleep cascades in waves hour after hour and the forlorn days blur without ceasing. Bereft prayers burn in my head but catch in my throat without fail.



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