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the cider is sweet, too much

for you.  you ask the soldiers to

wait outside because you want to

finish it anyway.  they hesitate because of

the snow, but drop your chin and swallow.  the

silence in the air adds weight to your order and

the three men follow one another.  you turn

to the young family and

hold the girl, then return her to her mother.

she stops and starts crying intermittently.  the

bartender asks if you’d like more,

but you tell him no, that this was a religious experience,

this child born was promised to you by

a dead priest.

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