Heart Songs

Snipe drove along through a ravine of mournful hemlocks, gravel snapping against the underside of the Peugeot. He had been driving for an hour, past trailers and shacks on the back roads, the yards littered with country junk—rusty oil drums, collapsed stacks of rotten boards, plastic toys smeared with mud, worn tires cut into petal shapes and filled with weeds. He slowed down to look at these proofs of poor lives the same way other drivers gaped at accidents on the highway, the same way he had once, years before, looked out a train window into a lighted room where someone sprawled naked on a mattress, a hand reaching for a cheap bottle.

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