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the Typist's dotter

Kirsten Kaschock

played the clarinet. It was so musical, and there was the whole open mouth thing, the stroking of the reed with the flat of the tongue, the gentle bites that nudged the pliable wood into correct contact with the mouthpiece. She liked especially the upper register. She liked it bird-in-the-tree rather than bird-in-the-water. It mattered to her that the rhythms written for the clarinet were substantively different than the rhythms written for flute or for oboe. She did not yearn to be elsewhere. The syncopation, she felt, though autumn, was so tip of the tongue, so candy. Her love of the darker, percussive quality was a barely waking want inside her, and it pushed her, vaguely, from the classical, at least the most classical classical, into the bare peripheries of jazz, smoke and turkey and a certain wild, cool writhing on her stool though still long-skirted and crisp-bloused, until one late night, 3 maybe 4 am, robins even, she found its screech and its hammer—her pound of wail—the release into the narrow black bird that sent her through her fingers to its throat like the best, best murder.

Kirsten Kaschock

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