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Excerpt from “Thin Wall”

The sun poked from behind clouds outside, dappling the countryside with errant rays, illuminating a patch of heather here, a bare oak there. Karin remembered playing on the edges of a distant field as a little girl, gathering armloads of heather for her mother. She closed her eyes and inhaled, remembering the smell of it, the sprigs bouncing in her arms. But the only smell here was plaster dust and the stale trapped air. She longed for a bath, a damp washcloth, a fresh change of clothes, a toothbrush. Most of all, she longed for the purpose of chores, the comfort of her barn, the sweet nuzzle of a milk goat. She missed the work the way she imagined other mothers missed their sons at war, the way she’d thought she’d miss Max when he left. But she didn’t. She missed the goats.

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Frances Badgett