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30 the minnesota review James Finnegan Two Pints and a Prayer At the gaspump my hands go solid, exposed for only a few minutes. The tank filled, I pull my gloves back on. Someone pours a pint of ethyl alcohol into his tank and I think of those men I've never seen, the men who sleep under the railway trestle. In daylight I've come across their scattered fires, tincans and bedding. I'm sure they are there tonight huddled at a fire, the flames clawing at the cold air, passing around a pint bottle of whiskey. One of them coughing after each swig. There is too much wind to talk. Should any of them stay and try to sleep through this night, I ask of stars or gods in heaven to hear their hard breathing and call it prayer. Anyone's Life He bought a new wallet. Inside the wallet was a picture of a woman and some children and in one way or another he never got around to taking the picture out. The faces grew familiar and he could no longer part with it, almost believing Finnegan 31 they were his wife and children, a lie he was willing to live with and often when paying for groceries or cashing a check he would flash a glimpse of the picture to the girl behind the counter hoping she'd small talk how lovely they were or how lucky he was. His life was like anyone's life and possibly there are people who love their real families less. The plastic yellowed and cracked, but he allowed them to live on in the picture-holder, ageless in his love. And those who went through his personal effects found no names on the picture, no way to notify his family. There was no need for names, they were closer than that. ...


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