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61 Humility It is our annual pilgrimage, when he visits, to trek with my father-in-law to the posh café with the hour-long queues for three-person tables, where cooks in white linen scramble duck eggs with smoked salmon. In that café, my father-in-law wears his polo shirt printed with the Constitution. Or, with the better parts. From shoulder to navel, a more perfect union slopes down his belly. No mention of temperance, balances or checks, but the signature of one Rufus King, that lesser-known father, edges from his armpit. He settles back in the painted green chair, its wooden rails striating the Third Amendment. When he leans this way, the spine settled in an inch of space between the bars, feet clamped wide in a brace, we know he is about to speak overloud, proclaiming learnings and philosophies so broad the table shudders under our fingers as though we conducted a séance. We grip the table cloth to give it anchor. 62 At his mention of foreign policy, the table’s ornamental dahlias shudder. With wars and rumors of wars, coffee cups rattle and chip in their saucers. And when the deficit has its turn for an airing, a service dog in its green training vest begins to whine and roll its eyes. When I sneak a truce chorizo its direction, an elderly woman at the table behind spears me with a look. I excuse myself, rummage my flatware at the bussing cart as if I worked here. Because, from this hallway, I can feign he’s no relation of mine. He’s just a man in a shirt, shouting. ...


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MARC Record
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