A python swallows a mouse on Animal Planet, and the homeless girl watches that same clip loop over and over in the warm interior of a Best Buy two towns from hers, wondering how long it will take for the tiniest of its bones to dissolve. The homeless girl hates thinking of these sorts of endings as solid things. Curtains with weight enough to hide behind. Blackout, wool, never sheer. Never sunlight through thin glass. Never the beautiful and uncertain endings she dreams about—the ones where the mouse keeps kicking until the python’s mouth opens to blue skies. The ones where homeless girls make it out alive.

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Jared Povanda is a writer, poet, and freelance editor from upstate New York. His work has been published in Uncharted Magazine, Pidgeonholes, and Hobart, among numerous others. Find him @JaredPovanda, jaredpovandawriting.wordpress.com, and in the Poets & Writers Directory.