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The house is still and I watch the news and wonder if Jim Lehrer speaks directly to me when he talks of a Sierra Leone child whose arms were hacked off for being in the way of a rebel who sought to prove how worthy he was amongst his clan of soldiers despite his being only fourteen and high on coke or speed or some amphetamine and the child lay bleeding and dying and hoping that one day he will return as a tiger and eat the heart of the boy who took away his life perhaps when the boy is old and repentant for all of the horrors he committed perhaps when the old boy sleeps in a soft feather bed provided by globalization when the child is the only tiger and there are not tigers in Sierra Leone at all ever and the news reports what has occurred and with lasers and mines and harpoons civilization hunts the only tiger but they do not call it a tiger because a tiger is the monster and they find the monster and they launch an arsenal of manpower at the monster and it lies down among the onslaught and accepts the punishment of life repeating depleting bleating beating and

I hear the seconds between pops slowly trickling to one-two-three seconds between pops and I know what will happen next I know I know I anticipate it and it comes and the microwave beep beep beeps and I smile and stand and twist and bend to get the kinks out of a body made for the couch and I approach and I push the button and the door opens and I grasp the bag by the sides and I know to be careful because the steam is hot I know because Orville Redenbacher lost his eyes to the steam when he was only fourteen and the glasses are just for show and I imagine Redenbacher cleaving off the arms of children who eat his popcorn and I open it away from my eyes and pour the contents into a bowl and the un-popped kernels make a ringing noise that permeates my body as they swirl into the ceramic bowl and I count the un-popped kernels and I see 12345678 just eight only eight of them I become excited by the thought that only eight kernels are un-popped and it's a new record without burning the popcorn and I go back and sit on the couch and Jim Lehrer interviews a young man without arms and I wonder what it's like to eat without arms so I drive my head into the popcorn and I shove as much popcorn into my mouth and I wonder about the tiger eating the man's heart and I wonder what it's like to eat popcorn without a heart and I think Jim Lehrer allows a single tear to escape from an eye which he bats at with his hand pretends it's a bug or the wind that's it the wind dried his eye he blinked and it watered and I eat popcorn with no heart and no arms and

in the next life I am an ant toiling away at a brilliant hill of the finest granules of sand pulling a kernel of popcorn to share with my hive but the kernel is burnt and I am burnt by a magnified beam of hot sun and the heckling laugh of a boy with no arms and no heart.

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