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EPISTOLARY / Roger Weingarten The steam from their nostrils climbed out of the valley of fireflies. There were no curves. The conifers guarded the night like an infantry of jealous husbands. At mountaintop, the coachman tossed the mail with a shout, lashed the air without giving his team a catch of breath, white-lathered, and their eyes reflecting the water-swollen, orange midsummer moon that passed through a window and illuminated the sole passengers: A stoop-shouldered, bearded serial-novelist, outfitted in the three-piece, dark haberdashery of his era, watch and fob, tumbling with apologies into the lap of an impressionable woman in a cape, a mother of three, she said, whose silent displeasure with her domestic state of affairs made her sad, desirable, and agree to correspond through a trusted half-sister in Randolph, but she went for his wrist before he pulled the shade. He sat back and recollected himself as a boy, lazy and nested in a crater of gnarled roots poling the tip of a bamboo at the hooked antennae of the yellow mudwasp floating in the pond. A woman as fragile 30 · The Missouri Review and transparent as honey emerged out of the brush and milkweed, so close he ran his adolescent fingers down her calf. Her face, without expression, broke the surface into an evolution of ripples, which a man, like a star, reckless and falling through the atmosphere, found inevitable, and blue, and disappeared. Roger Weingarten The Missouri Review ¦ 31 ...


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