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Peter Cherches

Lift Your Right Arm

Lift your right arm, she said.
I lifted my right arm.
Lift your left arm, she said.
I lifted my left arm. Both of my arms were up.
Put down your right arm, she said.
I put it down.
Put down your left arm, she said.
I did.
Lift your right arm, she said.
I obeyed.
Put down your right arm.
I did.
Lift your left arm.
I lifted it.
Put down your left arm.
I did.
Silence. I stood there, both arms down, waiting for her next
command. After a while I got impatient and said, what next.
Now it's your turn to give the orders, she said.
All right, I said. Tell me to lift my right arm.

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Where Is She?

Where is she, I wondered, when she wasn't there.
If she's not here she could be anywhere. She could be
anywhere and not alone.
I began to imagine the worst. At every imagining
I thought I had imagined the worst, then I imagined
something even worse. It got to the point where my
imaginings no longer included her. I realized that the
worst did not encompass her. As my imaginings continued,
as worst superseded worst, making the preceding worst
only worse, I began to forget her. As worst got worse,
I forgot her more. Things were getting pretty bad, and
I had almost forgotten her completely, when she
reappeared.

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