Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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In the Gathering Woods

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pp. 1-31

It seemed that I had waited many years before my grandfather, Isaia, asked me to accompany him on his forays, and finally, when I was seven years old, he said to my mother, I think it is time you let the boy come with me....

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Waiting for Giotto

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pp. 32-65

At dusk, he crosses the threshing floor. The soles of his wooden shoes hit against the stones. The stones fit closely, embedded into the ground, squared blocks pressed tightly, one against the other such that no weed can grow between them. The threshing floor is Apennine sandstone, slate-grey, and not easily splintered....

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The Child Carrier

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pp. 66-85

I sit up. Hold the holy medals still, flat against my breast so they do not tinkle. They are warm. Put one leg over the edge of the bed. My foot flat on the cold floor. Put the other foot down flat. My ankles are thin again. It was the sight of my ankle, he said....

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The Coal Loader, Above Ground

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pp. 86-99

All day long, the hares hide in depressions in the ground, in any ruts they can find, trying to stay out of the sun, and in the late afternoon, they start to move around, eating those plants that they eat....

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Shoreline

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pp. 100-109

The tavern doors were closed, not propped open with a wooden wedge like on hot days, when you’d go by as fast as you could, not wanting to look in, but occasionally, you’d look out of curiosity into that darkened tap room, and the man sitting at the end of the bar, his head scrunched into his shoulders, a cigarette squeezed...

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Sunday

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pp. 110-124

I woke up in a laundry basket well padded with blankets and the first thing I thought was, I’m not supposed to be here yet. All around me, it was yellow, fuzzy and soft. The basket was yellow as well, and I could see in between the openings of the plastic weave. I...

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Rustlings

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pp. 125-136

Ray’s away downstate, it’s Veterans’ Day, and the kids are out of school. Forty from Dempster to the Loop, thirty minutes from the Junction. The kids are not awake. Outside the window, above the stockade fence, it’s grey. The weather is already bad, too cold for them to play outside. November. It changed like it always does, on Halloween...

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Straight Shot

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pp. 137-168

Finally, they are on their way.
They have rumbled over the planks of the wooden bridge, past the bushes on the left with dried-out scarlet tapered buds that look like a thousand cardinals waiting to take flight, they have passed the wall her grandfather built, passed her school, passed the Japanese...

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A Slight Blow to the Cheek

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pp. 169-184

The ceilings are enormously high, and when classes change, the metal lockers crash open and shut, and people talk. There is a great cacophony. This is one of our vocabulary words. Most of the words are not this hard....

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Working the Clock

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pp. 185-191

She smoked then. She sat on the hood of the car and watched them. He was hitting grounders, he was hitting fungoes. It was June. The light was perfect. The green could break your heart. The baby was asleep in the car, on the backseat....

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The Minnie Minoso Cure

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pp. 192-200

All you have to do is shake his hand.
You don’t have to say anything, or do anything.
He always comes the same time each year, a month before Opening Day. He still has a lot of commitments, he makes lots of guest appearances, but he never forgets to come....

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With These New Tunes

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pp. 201-213

Haiku baby.
Wudja?
Wanna?
Maybelatah.
Baby you I coo ya....

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Noli Me Tangere

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pp. 214-224

See how close people come, drawn to the same spot, crowding her, closing in. A handful of viewers in this ample room, six, and all are hovering. There are other famous paintings, other Titians to choose from, Bacchus and Ariadne, Portrait of a Man, The Vendramin Family, but here they are, swarming around her, pressing toward the very...

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Shards

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pp. 225-244

Letizia Mattei, Letizia Mattei, you have come here almost too late. What an American you have become, now, demanding a tour. Click. Click. Follow me....

Acknowledgments, Back Cover

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pp. 245-BC