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30 the minnesota review Renee Harlow Hiding Many years ago strangers came to the door. We unlocked the house as we left it and swallowed the keys. The bread on our table turned to stone; eggs: peeled alabaster on pale plates. The tea evaporated untouched until a wandering fortuneteller turned the cups and read the leaves. We are gone. Our neighbors have forgotten our names and avoid the shadows of our house. Their dogs howl our absence in the dark. We were marched to a country with no rivers where trees twist and splinter in the wind. Fences divide us from the graves of our dead and our unlocked house where sparrows fly down the chimney and beat the pattern of their feathers onto the ceilings with sooted wings. Our children still hide in walled off rooms each in his separate cage. I imagine their escape, envision their spun flax hair blossom wreathed and fragrant. They do not sing or weep. They eat paint from the walls one layer at a time until they are grey from hunger. Waiting to emerge until footsteps fade from the floors the children are confused by silence and their own slight scratching. ...


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