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On the Cover: Pin-Up Girl Angela Ryan Kara Walker Art Critique by Solange James Mod Style: Ready, Steady, Go! Photography: Nicholas Routzen

The Afghan

The curtains in Father William's study were yellow. It was a cheery yellow, the color of butter or just-ripe bananas, the yellow of foodstuffs rather than that of signs reading "Danger: Falling Rocks" or "Slow: Deaf Child." Its very presence made Julie feel calm, almost sleepy, like a baby with a warm bottle. Yellow would protect her. Yellow would make her a child again, tender and blameless, the kind everyone wanted to pick up and raise to the sky. She touched the curtains and the matching lamps and wallpaper, hoping the benevolent force of the color would seep into her bones, making her glow.

It was the afghan that had created the void, shattered her sense of being at home in the world. It had begun so simply as Father wound the blanket around her silent, shivering frame. Now it lay coiled at the base of the coat rack, in much the same shape she had assumed when it was all over, the whimsy of her daydreams replaced with raw, animal urges. It was red, the afghan. Red as Eve's apple, as her own blood, as the stinging welt on her conscience.

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