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the Lights are Out, the Curtains Drawn

The lights are out, the curtains drawn in the unlit parlor, but he moves with an easy confidence past bicycles, sandwich board, into the dining room, past the shadowy bulk of the table still piled with books and papers, under the archway, into the kitchen lit only by what’s cast off from other lights without, just enough to gleam the jars that line the counters, to sketch the pots left on the stovetop, to limn the dishes in the sink, and slip over the rough-shaped pewter beads that weight the tips of his mustaches. He sets a paper bag and a larger canvas sack side-by-side on the counter by the stove, then stands there a moment, head tipped back, listening.

From the canvas sack he pulls a handful of cloth rags, a scrub brush, a small clay jug, a large, anonymous squirt bottle, a smaller spray bottle that says Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Orange Clove, and a pair of yellow gloves. From the paper bag he slips a plastic takeaway dish still vaguely steaming. Giorgio’s, says the label pasted on the clear plastic lid of it. 5/15. Opening the refrigerator, he sets it carefully within, the fridge light washing over him, his blue jeans, blue denim jacket, his close-cropped iron hair, winking away as he soundlessly closes the door.

Then, tugging on the yellow gloves, taking up the scrub brush and the squirt bottle, the Anvil Pyrocles sets to work.

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