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list the things you lost, and you will never finish

What I've done to myself. And these hours make everything worse. Especially this hour. I don't dare go out walking into an hour like this. I might never come back. This world has teeth. But they're dull teeth. That's why it takes so many years of chewing before we are totally consumed and digested, our pieces shit into outer space.

Return this suit of skin to the rack. The store dims their lights fifteen minutes before closing. I fell in love with the popcorn girl. She has a curious cough. And she lives somewhere in a confusion of boxes and windows.

None of these freeways look familiar. Only the clouds seem like repeats of the clouds I saw yesterday and yesteryear or in a yesterlife. I always liked walking past the construction sites, the cranes silhouetted against the night clouds.

I wander an abandoned building, searching every floor and every room for someone I used to know. I can't think of a single big city that wouldn't kill me. 4 AM is a straight line between the bowling alley and the liquor store. I blame the streetlights for the disappearance of my sisters and everyone I used to know.

Men in borrowed suits string Christmas lights over the used-car lot. Don't you dare walk down that street. There are so many ghosts stuck in the chainlink fence. I was fined for littering math problems in dull pencil.

Why do we have to go the bus station THIS early? My bones and muscles still ache from the last bench. I was six years old and travelling alone to Stockton to search for my lost dog. I wore my best and only polyester suit. And it was a terribly hot day, no wind to stir the orange pylons at the airport. Drink warm Coke from a Thermos and windows looking into the airport made me think of a pool of cool water. I couldn't find my dog, so I watched the airplanes take off and land. An older boy, long-haired and shirtless, protected me from truck drivers and tried to find someone who knew me. No one in the airport restaurant knew me. My red tie and blue eyes received many compliments, but no one wanted to drive me back to Modesto. I don't remember the older boy's name but I somehow inadvertently betrayed him when the police arrived. And I felt bad about it when they took him away for marijuana possession. And I never saw him again. And I never found my dog. And I bet a lot of those people from the airport restaurant are dead now or too old to recall the six-year-old with blue eyes and a red suit searching for his dog at the Stockton airport on a hot summer day in 1978.

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