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Beauty Dan Manchester

First lay your arms slack at your sides. Set your spine straight, make it a rod pinning you to this vast map. Bend your arms at the elbow only. Raise your hands before you, palms up. Bring the hands together, pinkie-to-pinkie, wrist-to-wrist. Feel your pulse move in both hands. Curl your fingers up and in to make yourself a bowl. As in a children’s game. As in begging. Let it be empty, this bowl. Attach nothing to it—no gender, no name, no inertia of metaphor. It is simply the air you hold. Weigh it, swirl it, make it still. Now wish it full. Give it your only desire—another summer morning at the lake, your mother’s final smile, some favorite smooth patch of skin, a crooked tooth, that last great Little League season. The moment of your wish, like the instant of pure darkness before the reels click and the movie plays, when we all—strangers, together without connection beyond forward-locked eyes—when we all know darkness like a teaspoon of the end, that moment of wish, that heavy glance into an empty palm-bowl, that moment we can see it full, that is it.