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Unusable Elegy // Zachary Harris

Sometimes the living make us very sad. This is not an unusual condition.

There is a fine bronze threaded through the pears and butter. I am sad

for this bronze. I am sad when I watch Bea Arthur on television. Once

I saw a dead fish, unblemished, half-buried in the mud on the lip of a

pond. I mistook it for a knife, and I was sad first for the fish, and sad

second for myself, who so easily lapsed into the sinister. I am sad when

Bea slips on a beaded caftan the color of a nightcat because now that

caftan is empty and guileless. There is a certain way in which the sunset

directs the light in my third-floor walk-up. I am sad to have to pick up

these pieces. Bea eats cheesecake, and I am sad first for her because

no one should eat that much cheesecake, and sad second for myself,

for having none. It makes me sad to read Oliver Twist because I have

often felt orphaned. There is a way in which everyone is an orphan.

Bea is going out on a date. She kisses her smallish mother goodnight,

opens the door, and sees that there are no stars.
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