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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017


Glenn Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA

Degrees of Acquaintance

If I walk into the barber shop and Shirley is on the phone, I know that she is talking to her mother who was my barber before her. Shirley will turn and say, "I had a feeling you'd be in today, my momma was just asking about you."

The television on the wall is playing country music videos. Sound is on mute. Shirley never watches the news because it is too sad. "Don't ask me about politics," she says. "I don't have a clue."

She understands me well enough to say, "You don't seem like yourself today. Is something wrong?" She asks about my son who is seeing a girl who is younger than he is. "Could you bring him in for a haircut? I'd like to see what he looks like."

I watch her in the mirror as she snips away and talks at the same time. "You know a man told me yesterday that I was putting on a few pounds. Do you believe the nerve of some people?"

I look around at the customers waiting in chairs. The place is so quiet that you can hear a pin drop.

nine days of rain
ground too soft
to walk on



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