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Two twenty-three

Inside, the oscillating fan cools the children's naps. Back and forth it blows the short hair above their sweat-damp necks. Their mother hums a tune she never knew the words to as she moves about the quiet kitchen. In a while, the school bus comes, and she'll have milk and cookies. But it is quiet now only two twenty-three, and the sun itself seems to have stopped in her yard to rest on her peas and her slow-flapping sheets. Standing at her kitchen window, the mother starts to smile for no reason at all.