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Dear Maddie. I’ve been thinking a lot about camping lately because I am thirsty for trees in that old way we talk about. They always seem so alien when you stop and look at them, like ticks, which terrify me. I made up a dream I had last night for the purpose of this letter: My right armpit was filled with ticks, and you took me to a backroom away from all our friends so you could use a q-tip to smear their tunnels in my skin with shiny Vaseline. They emerged one by one, crawling backwards out of me trying to breathe again like the prairie dogs out west popping their heads up out of their vast networks of holes

98 | PHOEBE 49.1

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