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20 Seconds

He chews lamb peeled off the shank and hums quietly to himself thinking about the lines of birds arrayed along the opalescent gray ice surface of the river and the woman whom he talks from her own private ice flow where she is stranded, freezing and alone, not wanting to be there but not wanting to be elsewhere because not knowing how to be. Like the voice-over in a commercial his inward voice says: “There is only ointment as a place to store flies” as he pushes the lamb against the roof of his mouth and notes the geometry of sensations that radiate from it. Through the dim light across the bar a walrus man is talking loudly about himself again how little activity there is beneath that baseball hat, chewing without focus, fidgeting with a napkin.