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i liked it better when there were just a caribou and the queen on quarters

Earl Fowler

Hear power saws as I cross the tracks. Two men building a deck.

My uncle lost several fingers to a saw. Had to pick them up with a towel.

Drove himself to the hospital because my aunt kept passing out.

i was a child and called the stubs sore pings

“Where did you get the eggs?” asks the woman with the big teeth.

“At the llama farm,” I say, heading for more with two empty cartons.

“I didn’t realize they had them this time of year,” she says.

the chickens never stop, i say

Her Labradoodle approaches. Are there ever a lot of them these days!

Seems friendly but recoils when I submit my hand for sniffing.

Does he sense the cancer?

he is staring at me when i look back about a block on

I have felt compelled lately to pick up litter otherwise bound for the ocean.

I put a coffee lid in my pocket and then reflect that it might have plague droplets.

Resolve to stop picking up butts and plastic caps unless I’m wearing gloves.

cat races up from the tracks, arches its back when she sees me

Does she sense the cancer?

I look back a block on and do not see the cat.

There are snowdrops growing along the road into the llama farm.

they have their own waterfall

I don’t see any chickens but the llamas are staring at me.

Push two quarters and a fiver into the slot for a fresh carton of eggs.

On the way home a passing man suddenly starts whistling, tunelessly.

i had been thinking about the expression “whistling past the graveyard”

A little girl is jumping with a pink skipping rope in her driveway. She turns to look at me like it’s 1956. Like there are pings on the ground.

A block on, I don’t look back.

i liked it better when there were just a caribou and the queen on quarters

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