Swallow

Spit it out, his mother says, offering her yellow dish towel as receptacle.

Crumbs dot Bruno’s mouth and one cheek as if he’s immersed his entire face in his plate, groveling like the seven-year-old animal he is. A born heathen who acknowledges no one’s instructions, who is always scavenging, always hungry and never satisfied, Bruno lives the life of a savage, bounding through the neighborhood with sharpened sticks, telling time by the sun, losing articles of clothing every hour so that when he arrives home at dinnertime, famished and cross, he is often shirtless and sunburned, his bare feet filthy with dry mud.

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