Up in his office, as he sits at a neat desk puffing an allotted pipe-full, the familiar expression of the dead and the faces of those disowned flare before him like smoke heightened to silver in the late sunlight-- his wife (six years since cancer caused her white flesh to slip fish-quick from his devoted touch), the eldest son (long hair and a beard refuse their resemblance), the other (cracked like a knick-knack in a car accident at seventeen), and the daughter who tiptoed out of his life one night while he slept, tiny as a pea beneath king-sized sheets, and dreamt of a faulty elevator hammering him into its sudden depth. He pauses to check the clock. That boy-- the blond one he wanted in a Village bar over thirty years ago-- could he have changed anything? Or if he'd stayed overseas? He might have died drinking, but would have written (America meant opportunity, prestige, and sparse seminars in Chaucer). His regrets stop, an interior lecture interrupted by time. He must prepare notes, consult his syllabus. As he bends over to scan a shelf, his tan slacks sag like loose skin. Then, with breath built-up for the top of the book selected, he blows at the dust.
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Warren Wedin firstname.lastname@example.org