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IT’S A BASEMENT FULL OF COBWEBS. Mice and dust and boxes. One is filled with letters in his language, and another night, before he got on a plane to identify the body of his father, he told her of those letters.

The balloons she gave him one birthday float in a corner; balled lint collects up on the dryer.

They sit on a step, and he leans on her, asking for a head rub.

“You love me?” he says.

“Honey,” she says.

The radio is fuzzy. A tornado is coming, and it tells them to hide.



Kim Chinquee has published fiction and nonfiction in The Nation, Ploughshares, NOON, StoryQuarterly, Denver Quarterly, Fiction, Story, Notre Dame Review, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. She is chief editor of Elm Leaves Journal and codirector of SUNY–Buffalo State’s writing major.




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