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Self-Portrait With An Armless Man: Random Scene I

Jason Fraley

Let the April snowstorm continue unabated. Let the kind nurse wrap you in gauze. I may prattle on, ostensibly about nothing. All this whiteness reminds me of a coma. I remember twenty nor'easters, all named Debby with madly beautiful aftermaths like wedding dresses. Once, I threw a snowball that unwrapped itself into the gymnasium's Olympic-sized pool. Unwrapped itself in tenths—how fascist, I know. I swam at night to break the moonlight into a pox. My brow invented carpet bombing. It wasn't all napalm and jungle fire back then. Just two-dimensional craters on tile. I'd yell splash! just before entry. My lungs would fill with an unintelligible wet noise. That's how civilians feel, you know. I watched the small ripples exhaust themselves with a faint hush, much like your protests now. The moral? I love you, but I'm tired of hearing that your shoulders are pregnant with stones you cannot carry. Your prayers are hot. Your prayers will soon melt your shoulders, shallow drifts that they are.

Jason Fraley

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