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I loitered behind the liquor store and exposed my severed penis to tweens begging for beer. Before that I snorted bath salts and flakka in front of a Domino’s delivery driver. Before that the pregnancy test confirmed what we expected—life was backwards. Before that, under duress, I signed divorce papers smeared with melted mozzarella. Before that my wife threatened my scrotum with rusty scissors meant for cutting slices of DiGiorno Rising Crust Supreme Pizza. Before that Señor Pepperoni snuggled flaccid inside crusty pajamas, bourbon bulbous moonshine oozing into our bedroom, an atavistic inertia of snores and subtle whimpers from the bathroom where Nancy waved the pregnancy test with the wisdom of a magic wand, eyeballs full of fireflies and rheum. Before that we guzzled champagne between shots of mescal in the bathtub. Before that we were in the shower making love after washing blood from faces, nipples, elbows, and armpits. Before that we juggled feces and giggled with glee. Before that the coroner left us alone. Before that we rode the magic carpet—cathartic fury flowing from broken capillaries. Before that a collage of feathers rained from a bloody eagle, beakless on shards of moonlit glass. Before that the chandelier trembled. Before that Nancy’s mother scooped her last spoonful of mashed potatoes and swallowed a pistol, bullet devouring bald skull. Before that we were a family. Cancer spun her web, leukemia quivered from cobwebbed corners. Before that the kitchen filled with smoke, skinny gypsies dancing on broken toes. Before that we wheeled Nancy’s mother into our lives. Before that we were ghosts.

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