Sarah Jane Barnett

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Christmas

After dinner she puts the Christmas pine in its box. It's bent and swollen with garlands of tinsel. Last year her father had packed it away, shifting on his knees, bending the stubborn branches back on themselves until the tree collapsed down. His hands had shaken from the therapy, tiny earthquakes in his sleeves. They sat to finish the holiday crossword. He recited the questions, his medic's voice echoing up from childhood. How many band members were in Erasure? What game has both tricks and hoops? She carefully printed the answers. As he dozed asleep his chin released onto the kite of his chest. What do you want me to do with your body?

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