Wednesday 1/03/2007 12:03:00 AM

You're not starting a new life so much as just finishing up an old one. Octopuses spilling from the garden hose in a galaxy of arms. Every one pointing in the same direction. Caterpillars polka dotting the bottom of every eave. Sweating out their tiny comas that promise to make them whole. Like we do when there's still enough beer left.

Or some other ample shadow to blot out a big enough portion of the square. Where our pawns find themselves segregated from their bishops. And rooks. Flaunting this desperate chess match we pretend is the pursuit of happiness.

Square by square. Fumbling toward the middle. The crease in that cardboard tableau where all these long suicides have a name.

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