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Mags Mental Contagion
A Soul Available
by Dean Pajevic

1 in 62,457,900

"A family of mullets,
a seventies Chevy,
a black squirrel."

I came back home to find it unchanged. 
The people were big like big pork balloons, 
the grocery happy with sweet cakes and larded donuts. 

So many haircuts attempted
at home in the bathroom, or
while smoking cigarettes around the kitchen table.

Outside it rains in long gray clouds like hearses
sliding over the dirty raincoat of a lake.
A black squirrel slouches on a greasy picnic table,
a peanut in his tough little paws.

Where do they find those nuts?

In the burning eyes of an old man 
revving his 1972 Chevy Camero
waiting out the red light at Sherman and Henry.

The light turns and he cracks the shell with his teeth, 
goosing out the nut. There are more,
a full bag of salted peanuts on the passenger seat.

The old man pulls in the driveway,
"Hey grandpa! Hey!" his grandson shouts.
The old man smiles and pops open the door, forgetting
his sixty-eight years of aches and
hobbles, crab-like quick, with arms open to embrace
this electric spark of his distant loins.

The peanuts sit bulging in their crinkly clear plastic. 

Up in the maple tree, another black squirrel
peers down into the open passenger window
at her Super Powerball Lotto Jackpot winning ticket. 
Mental Contagion
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