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A Turtle or Iguana of Noble Bearing

The humidifier made its low, endless sound. My crying, too, moved in a smooth, gentle flow, the low mutter of a car exhaust or a crazy person, with a feeling like little quick wet creatures moving below my thoughts on cold feet, darting between dark, damp places.

In her bed Georgia shifted and turned. She began to cry again. Apparently in her sleep. I shaped her blanket over her and tried to quiet her, but soon the sound of her weeping was too awful. I felt I might be infecting her, and she needed to sleep. I had to leave.

I found Lana in the hallway. The dim light made elaborate shadows in the hollowed features of her face. We stood listening. After only half a minute Georgia had quieted herself. Silence engulfed us. I was thinking that all this was my fault in ways that would be clear to me later. It seemed that I never could see myself in full except as that jerk in my past.

—Nick Arvin, The Crying Man, published in Ploughshares Fall 2014

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