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I rescue yellowed paperbacks from the trunk of a car abandoned in the Altamont. I return to downtown SF later in the morning and watch an Asian woman sitting alone across the street, sunlight shining on her black nylons. I take a room in a ruined hotel with dark green walls. The carpet smells like old rain. I begin thumbing through the first paperback, a southern gothic novel written by a name that tastes like dust when I pronounce it. These stories always include an old woman living alone in a big house, reaching through the curtains to shake a skinny fist at the neighbor kids venturing too close to her yard of tall weeds.

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