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            If I hadn’t stepped outside, I would not

have seen the cloud buried deep in the approaching

storm I vaguely remembering hearing about. I would

not have seen the hole in the mist, the darkest

blue splot of our baby, blasted against the

lightning heavens. I would not have heard

the coyote howl or the neighborhood dogs

bark back, bark bark barking, as if you

would eventually return their perilous cries.

I would not have had to bite my tongue

from interrupting their noises with my own one—

a single scream—all out-stretched to you as

the windy sea blew a blue cloud into

you, crushing you into the embryo, the egg,

the moment before you did not exist. I

would not have stood there on the grass,

head tipped up to where you once bud – a

cutout memory in already drifting fog – and I

would not have let the rain fall into my

open mouth as I thought about how easy

it would be, how easy it could be to finally drown.

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