THE BOOK OF CHURL I Churl stamps through the swamp. Wet scowl, muddy shins, leather sandals chafing. Bile. He eyes the shaggy blacksmith’s wife but she will not, will not have him. So he stomps back to the kine, who are kin, lowering at him in the rain where grumble is how they hold together happily, humping and forgetting. Churl remembers every curse and kick that sent him on his way to this outskirts hut where even his damp fire wants to smoke him out. He nurses it, and in his breast a charred ember grows arms and legs and
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