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They killed the dogs last night. Gunshots and panicked yelps then—for the first time in two months—silence. Now I’m walking two blocks toward the river on the way to the barbershop and there are corpses piled in heaps on the curb awaiting removal.

Calo is unconcerned. He is singing the praises of the neighborhood barber. My hair is thick and shaggy, while Calo’s is buzzed tight; his dense Dominican curls smooth against his head.

“He will make you…zzzt,” he runs his fingers across his scalp, “so good, so cool.”

Dog tongues loll out of dog mouths. The flies, used to the meager pickings on discarded mango pits, are feasting.

“Que…” I search for the right question, “Que es esto?” “What is this?” As if some thing has been here, some single beast, slouching toward the river to die.

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