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  • Mrs. Norman
    Mrs. Norman had lived alone since the death of her husband.
    On her way to the market every Tuesday she waved hello to Mr. Hackett,
    who sometimes saw her and waved back. She envied him his confidence,
    certain he must be lonely, but noticing no trace of it.
    She spent her time collecting life re-imagined in glass;
    women danced among African game on her many shelves.

    In the dark corridor beneath her bed sat a shoebox with a green lid.
    The morning light never caught it, and only she knew it was there,
    which comforted her when she dressed, ate in the kitchen
    or played bridge with her neighbour on Saturday nights.
    Her husband had been a soldier. Inside was his gun.
    When she loaded it once she thought of the men it had killed,
    and how ironic it would be to end her life with what had saved her husband's.

    "That gun's been there two decades now" she thought in bed one night,
    "since he was still alive. Age doesn't dull the senses, like my mother said it would.
    She'd sat me on her lap and looked into my eyes, seeing what would soon kill her.
    If there's a window in your life which you can crawl through like a kid,
    and rest soundly at last, always keep hold of the key; you may never have to use it."

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