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I'm a morning coffee drinker, but I feel my wife's tea pains when we are away from home. Too many places put hot water in carafes that once had coffee in it. Once a coffee container, always a coffee container. Or places don't have tea at all. Here, there is a free coffee station, but no tea. When I asked for hot water and tea bag, the staff member told me that tea costs extra. I was so dumbfounded that he went and got a free cup of hot water and a tea bag. So, there's that.

“... he really longed to know what she wrote and sketched about. It made Virgil want his own journal. Maybe he had things to say and just didn’t know it yet.”

-- from Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, page 204

"How you think of Percy Jackson books is how she thinks of these Thomas Jefferson's books."
The mom, or perhaps chaperone, is sternly making a point to an adolescent girl who is on the verge of rolling her eyes. We are inside a replica of Thomas Jefferson's library, in the Library of Congress. I don't know what the girl either said or did to the tour guide. All I imagine is that she doesn't see the need to look at these old books stored behind glass from some dead old white guy.

Strange cities
pull you
in, maps of
Walk anyway,
with eyes upward
and full of

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We're approaching the escalator that leads down into the subway. My ears pick up what seems to be a horn playing. A busker, perhaps? A young busker, I think, because the notes are full of off-rhythms and periodic squeaks. A young saxophonist, playing for change? I can't discern a song. As we get closer, I realize my ears have deceived me. Not a musician, but the escalator itself, the belts of the tracks singing the blues to those whose weight it carries. It's a mournful song.

Some places
remain forever
unknown, in
and in

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'Sometimes, when old friends meet, things are instantly as they were all those years before. The friendship resumes, untouched, as though there had been no interruption.'

-- The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie.

“We think about this and we understand that he has been cast further than us, that he has been struggling and sinking in the desert sands for years alone and it is because of us. We enfold him and defend him and love him like brothers.”

-- from Eat the Apple by Matt Young, page 186

De-icing the wing of an airplane must be pretty common practice. This was the first time we watched it happen. You can find viewing entertainment just about anywhere, I guess. First, the hose extended from the vehicle with an extendable neck, like a wire giraffe. A layer of white foam shot out its mouth, coating the wing. It turned green after a few minutes. St Paddy's Day, I joked? Then, a layer of blue from the nozzle blast. Is that enough to stop the ice, we wondered? It was.

“The secrets of the Universe buried themselves in unusual and beautiful objects such as these, and only a select few could pull those secrets out. So, she had bought the crystals for ten cents.”

-- from Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, page 170

They'll be protesting today,
walking out of schools
walking out of buildings
holding hands
raising signs
raising a ruckus,
in order to be heard.
In order to finally
be heard.
Who will hear them,
other than those of us
who hear them
every day, who
hold them when
they're scared, who
comforts them in
their fears?
Who will listen to them
when the lobbyists
hand out cotton
for the ears of those
with the power to
make change?

The car was dead in the driveway. My first impulse was to blame the Kid. Did you leave dome lights on? The headlights? No, he said. No. I pulled out this jumper box that we recently bought. Hooked it up to the battery. Turned the key. Nothing. Not even a turn. Dang. I texted our neighbor, who owns a garage, who came by, jumped the car and drove it to his place. New battery needed. Our friend parked it back, hours later, fixed. It's handy to have a neighbor who's also a mechanic.

“It’s hard not be believe in fate when you watch a boy climb out of a well using a jump rope.”

-- from Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, page 289

“I’m deflated — a Mylar balloon left to tumble on roadsides. Someone snaps a picture and I wonder if there’s anything left to develop.”

— from Eat the Apple, by Matt Young, page 183

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The hour before
the storm,

"Listen to your sister."
"She's not my sister."
The older girl looks closely at the two little girls. One is spinning a hula hoop. The other is trying to grab it.
"Then listen to your friend. If she is your friend ..."
The older girl can't figure out if the two little girls like each other.
"Our teacher," says the little girl, "gets us confused all the time. It's annoying."
I'm walking by, seeing this exchange. They do look like sisters. The older girl and I smile, understanding.

“Back in the days when I had no ways to communicate at all -- no writing, pointing on my alphabet grid or verbal expression -- I was extremely lonely. People who have never experienced this will go through life never knowing how soul-crushing the condition of wordlessness is.”

-- from Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 (A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism), by Naoki Higashida, page 54