A man has come down the embankment. He enters the house, heaves himself up the stairs as if drunk. In the morning he wakes on a wooden bench, the room full of stagnant hours. Instead of a bride, he finds an infant here, a girl asleep, and knows–––washing up, both hands scooping cold water over his head, the short curls dripping like a dog’s pelt–––that she will marry a soldier, no matter what she thinks. In this town, they all marry soldiers. Then he leaves the way he came, leaves everything as he found it: the sleeping girl, the wooden bench, the squat machinery brooding on the embankment, in this town where they bait the rats with birds.
(Cream City Review 36.1, Spring/Summer 2012)