Charmless Man

I left her bleating in the kitchen, her back turned on me, arms busy at the wash. Outside, the wind blew South-South-East. I set my face against it and walked erect over rain-slipped stones and silent decomposing things that slushed beneath my boots.

In time, Orion’s shoulders nudged above the true horizon. She slept upstairs. In the stillness of our house I found her letter, unscented this time, though folded as carefully, and propped against the mantle mirror.

“It is not the same,” she said. And, “why can’t you just leave it alone?”

I watched my lip curl savagely at such revealing imprecision, evidence, if more were necessary, of hobbling flaws of character.

“By Christ,” I surprised myself. “I really am annoying.”

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