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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Tom Painting


I hated him for no good reason other than he’d show up unexpectedly, carrying a two-handled shopping bag, wearing a knee length woolen coat, smelling of body odor. He’d sleep on our living room couch, usurping my Saturday morning cartoon space in front of the black and white Philco T.V.

After rousting him with taunts and jibes, he’d saunter to the kitchen. The only thing I ever remember him eating, from our perennially bare pantry, were the heels of week-old bread over which he’d pour bacon grease heated up on the stove while still in the tin can mother had poured it in for hardening.

Then he stopped coming altogether. She attributed this to my cruelty; I suspect my father knew the whole story and kept it to himself. There was never again mention made of him, the man we all addressed as Uncle Harry.

deep winter
the heirloom
crazy quilt