Friday 4/10/2009 12:55:00 AM

The time comes and goes. What remains is how. Thick her lips were as they parted to receive him. Mute ninjas with their swords against the chalkboard. The basic arithmetic of men. Subtract. Pragmatic orphans with their discount clothes glued to their skin.

The years speculate on who we were. Urchins on the side of the road. Peddling matches for a meal. Scientists selling sunscreen in a nuclear winter. The common math. Subtract.

Leave the doll in its cradle. Let the ghost make its noises. Pay no attention. Close the curtain. Ignore the crazy wizards that lurk behind. All roads home.

I already know the formula. Subtract. Count backwards until you don't know them.

Bald babies sick in their mother's breasts. Coy strangers at the entrance. Dominoes anxious to be pushed.

All we have to do is breathe.

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