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SALEM: TWO WINDOWS / Maxine Scutes I'm sitting at a friend's table watching a young woman hold on to the railing as she climbs the front steps to her house. Her small daughter follows behind carrying a bag of groceries too big for her. Now the woman turns, many months pregnant and closes the door leaving me to think about silence, the line of tension pulling at me, its denial. Driving here I wanted to name everything as if naming would say it was not part of me— the giant paper mill and its constant yellow flame, the smell of pulp that spills over the collars of children in schools called Sunrise and Mountain View, Spring blurred by mud and sleet in the milltowns that I passed. I teach. I tell the kids don't censor, let the self out you didn't know you had. There's a boy in class who remembers how light flickers through trees when he stands knee deep in stream water fishing, who says 1 don't know ifyou'll understand but there are voices coming through me; and born in 1968, a child who listened around the kitchen table, he speaks his uncle's tongues on some airstrip in Vietnam. The girl is on the street again tossing a ball— it lands in her hands, 222 · The Missouri Review that's the simple law of gravity. To my right a window facing a wall of bricks, winter sunlight staining the glass though I can't see its source, and the bare branches of a bush ready to blossom. Maxine Scates The MISSOURI Review · 223 ...


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