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43 Sisters The convent kitchen is a furrow of root vegetables. Carrots edge from behind the butcher block, parsnips jut from electrical sockets. Potatoes shoot twine from eyes when the sisters leave for prayers. There’s a cleaver in the wall: it dances a blade shuffle behind lath and plaster, impatient to whack at fiber. Pots shudder from hanging pegs, murmur at tufts of carrots’ baby hair, ring the copper pot’s knell for rutabaga. In the corner, Sister Isadore hunches at the slop bucket, scales at her thumb with a knife: penance for having left the radish to mischief with turnips. The sisters have left her, a chair wedged at the door to keep her immortal soul from slinking out the crack of light. The onion skin of her flesh wafts to the bucket’s bottom, joins tuber-rot without sound as she works out her salvation. This page intentionally left blank. ...

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