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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

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Magdalen Powers


The man, of course, was not her husband. She'd accosted him, for running to catch a train that was always late. They danced salsa. He was good, but: He was American, he didn't come on to women well (after all, she had appeared before him). So now, yes. Two-thirty in the morning. He was not a bad dancer. He had seen a lot of old movies. Many of these would be playing around, no? The ones who wanted it. What did they want? What sort of thing?


The doctors rebuilt his face from photos and recollection. What the result lacked in accuracy, it made up for in sly pathos and a strange dumb wisdom, as if the face were somehow separate from its wearer -- not so much mask as possessor, possessed.

The girl came across pictures from the accident while she was visiting. "You see?" his mother shrieked, ripping them out of her hands. "This is what happens when you have children!"

The girl didn't know how to reply. Who would?


My great-grandmother died on Wednesday. I switched my ticket to stay for the funeral. I had nothing to wear. I went shopping. I cried in a dressing room at Ann Taylor. It's a nice outfit; you'd like it. Sorry, this is what I thought I'd tell you. Besides, if you knew my cousins, you'd see it really is sort of a fashion show. Still.

My grandparents' house, where I have been staying, is being overrun by daddy longlegs. This, the stark passage of time -- more than just their aging -- makes me nervous. It has never, in my experience, happened before. (The spiders, I mean.)

We're close enough to the airport that I can hear jets revving up to take off. I will wake up tomorrow, hung over, underslept, somewhat dazed by sun and sentiment, likely still wondering at my grandmother saying, "I wish you hadn't yelled. I don't like yelling," when she yells all the time -- when I didn't think I'd yelled at all.

Magdalen Powers can sometimes fall asleep standing up, but often has trouble doing so while lying down. She once woke up in the Bronx. A list of her recently published work appears here.