, too often a sentence forgets its beginning, wandering to and fro toward an ill-formulated end only to be abandoned in a momentary distraction; an insect in the throes of death trapped at the edge of a windowsill, bark of the neighbor’s dog answered by the baying of a hound far down the street coming, perhaps, from the house in the cul-de-sac the new owner’s just finished re-roofing, a woman with immense purple thighs always bent over the spurge infesting her drive, not that she offers a greeting or turns to acknowledge a friendly hello; yet who blames her, who can, knowing what she’s got away from, arriving so suddenly in her rust-green pickup haphazardly-packed and teetering with faded carpets, a shredded sofa, white painted rocking chairs, late on a Sunday afternoon otherwise so quiet there’s only the ringing bounce of a basketball passed between two teenage boys, disgruntled when their game is interrupted to let her pass — but what about the taller one, they’re saying, whose ears are pierced, hair long but unusually well-kept, fine-combed, flipping his bangs in a distinctly feminine manner, almost coquettish; surely their neighbor, a man in silk shorts and ribbed t-shirt stretched over his expansive gut, does not fail to notice, not from where he stands, sucking his teeth, immobile on the concrete apron that is all the porch that moldy house can muster, though it seems, doesn’t it, that he emerges from the odorous gloom only when the boys come out to flash their long white thighs, crashing chest to chest to win the spinning ball amid the lack of focus, the decumbency, that blunts this long, unambitious afternoon; all of its inhabitants, even the drowsy bees diffused among blossoms of the pagoda tree, petals sweet and sticky underfoot, have lost the force of the straight lines that once strived through them, and dwell only, are lodged only, abide without movement but little, private stirrings of the quiet breath of each and the circulation of small winds,

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