Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. ix

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

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The Loss of Green

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pp. 1-18

Every night, Sam makes Claire and Russell dance. He pushes the sofa and chairs against the wall, rolls up the rug, and puts one of the CDs he brought with him on the CD player. In the three weeks he has been...

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Comfort

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pp. 19-34

I’ve forgotten how long I told them I’d circle the block before coming back for them. Now I’m stuck behind a truck that’s backing slowly into a driveway. I picture my customers standing on the corner looking bereft...

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Nothing to Hide

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pp. 35-53

Hannah sings to herself without even knowing she’s doing it, sings in the bathtub, sings when she comes home from school and dumps her backpack on the floor, sings now as she loads the dinner dishes into the dishwasher...

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Honor Among Thieves

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pp. 54-72

Three days after Daniel left Carrie, a tree came down against her house in a terrible rainstorm, crushing the front stairs and puncturing the roof. Carrie and her daughter, Anya, got up from bed and set out buckets...

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Curled in the Bed of Love

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pp. 73-86

Their friends are not dropping like flies anymore. Now twenty-five pills a day will keep death from the door indefinitely. And all the medieval horrors—the purplish lesions of KS mottling the beautiful...

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Light, Air, Water

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pp. 87-105

When Vince and I lead Elena into the greenhouse, she stands still a moment, breathing in the calm. The air is thick as syrup—a wetness burdened with the acidic odor of the bark chips in which I pot the plants...

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Side by Side

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pp. 106-123

Wonder is not what Bill should feel after a truck smashes into his car at forty miles an hour, but he does. He is amazed that he could step unscathed from his crumpled Toyota, amazed by the way his body absorbed...

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

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pp. 124-142

I. When her son’s life begins in her, Katie is stunned, not sure she can have this child, not with Malcolm, not when her life is still so tentative. Malcolm does not share her astonishment. He does what...

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Roam the Wilderness

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pp. 143-161

In the letter he wrote to each of them, he mentioned his brother’s death. He worked hard on the sentences that described his feelings, constructed them, even though the feelings were true. Sam’s car accident...

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Written in Stone

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pp. 162-178

Hassan comes to me on Tuesday nights. He is having more difficulty than I am with our separation. I don’t know how other people manage to cancel one another out of their lives. I can’t. He can’t. Hassan...

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Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

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pp. 179-193

I cannot match what my hands are doing to any intention until I look in the mirror. When I look there, I meet my client’s eyes and we talk at each other’s reflection. Should the layers blend more...