A furrow of metal pieces hold my skull together, inexpertly riveted in place by a disaffected nurse practitioner. How did it happen, she asked. The truth, unknown, the fiction a woven mat of dark rooms and ill-placed furniture. Even as I made my way to the parking lot, the bone revolted from the metal, the clear fluid gelled on the wound, and the low moon hung ashamedly in the bare trees. Strength through prayer, a fallback position, the unspoken cure-all for my family afflictions. Spare a few coppers? the tinker in the blanket asked at the hospital gate, the mummified baby hugged to her chest. My left eye fell down to the bottom of the socket and rebounded shakily for a few seconds. In my pocket, my fingers rubbed lint and thread together, a complete absence of coin.

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