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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Marilyn Westfall


“When the Russians invaded, I lived near Kabul with my whole family.”

On either side of the highway to Reagan National, autumn trees shimmer in rain. A crosswind whips fallen leaves. The taxi’s wipers scrape them away.

In the rearview mirror, the driver’s eyes wince as he listens. His black brows touch like leery cats.

“We needed out of Afghanistan and I had means. My wife and children – I got them visas, but my brother …”

The driver brakes; the rider jerks forward. Traffic slows to standstill, merging into a single lane to pass a stalled vehicle.

The windshield flows with downpour, dissolving cars and tail lights into smears.

red pulp on asphalt
flooded road tinted crimson
route that cuts at hearts