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Playing Dominos With Josiah at the Shelter


I ask him to show me how to play. Together we start lining them up, each with its number on its chest, each with all its eyes bright and open, staring into the back of the one before it. "Who are these guys?" I ask, remembering that sculpture I saw in DC of a line of men standing outside a soup kitchen during the Depression. He points out the domino that is me and the domino that is him. "Where are we going?" I ask him. "Nowhere!" he says with glee. "What are we waiting for then?" "We're waiting...we're waiting for this!" he says, flicking the last one with his nail. They fall like an arpeggio. "How about we build a house?" I suggest. The house Josiah builds is missing several necessary walls and a roof. I pick up a domino to add to it but before I can he knocks the house down with the back of his hand. "What was that? A tornado?" "No." "An earthquake?" He shakes his head. "A banker? A dragon?" His eyes light up, he nods. He's already building it back up again. "Another house?" I ask. "No," he says in the breathless voice of focused boys, "A tower." He builds it higher and higher. When I tell him I think he's built it as high as it can be built he builds it one level higher, then flies his hand into it and the whole thing comes crashing down. "What was that? A plane?" "No, a dragon!" "Oh," I say, "Well what should we do now?" "Let's make the men fall again," he says. I tell him I like that one and start lining them up but he stops me he says "Let's make them face the other way."
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