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Silence Her first meeting she was shy until he sank down into her mouth and planted a smack on her that seeped through her hair and clothes, her pores, like fumes from an ether-soaked rag. She was hooked. In a hurry, he became her new best friend, her pungent, fiendish sweetheart. She cherished his tricks, how he slid a loving hand into her side, slith-ered along her viscera, then crawled up her vagina, always the mute. She treasured their time together. How he’d invade her nostrils as a hot, metallic smell and climax in her brain through the ear canal, how she’d reach farther and farther into his inevitable stillness. At last, her former lover began to ask questions and her father had no better manners, but she didn’t explain, never said another word. He had moved in by then, set up house, and she focused first on inhaling and later exhaling.