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As I drove into town the driver in front of me runs a stop sign. A pedestrian pulls down his cap. A man comes out of his house to sweep the steps. Ordinariness bright as raspberries. I turn on the radio. Somebody tells me the day is sunny and warm. A woman laughs and my daughter steps out of the radio. Grief spreads in my throat like strep. I had forgotten, I was happy, I maybe was humming "You Are My Lucky Star," a song I may have invented. Sometimes a red geranium, a dog, a stone will carry me away. But not for long. Some memory or another of her catches up with me and stands like an old nun behind a desk, ruler in hand.
First published in Dirt, Autumn House Press, Pittsburgh, 2001. Copyright © 2001 by Jo McDougall. Reprinted by permission of the author.