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At dusk, when I step outside to get the mail, a half-moon hangs overhead. This is January in California and the year is 2021. The Santa Ana winds are coursing and the air moves in warm, off-kilter gusts. Tangles of unkempt iceberg roses flank the old brick walk to the street. Normally, I do not like these roses; I find them gnarled and messy this time of year, but tonight, in the waning light, they nod petaled heads in the breeze. Tonight, they float, white-winged and luminous, otherworldly creatures that dip and rise in the darkening air.

It is star rise and sunset, and for one warm breath, the day’s horrors recede.

The rusted letterbox door creaks when I open it. Inside: advertisements, the water bill.


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