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My last morning was like any other. I awakened with my mouth open, in the snow, with no shelter to speak of. Some of us called the empty lots behind the old matzo shop, at the corner of Norfolk and Rivington, the toxic waste dump. One never knew what or who might end up there, shiny needles, wine and other more intimate fluids were exchanged freely, we kept each other warm with song, spit and stories, of better, longer days and places where the sun filtered soft and lovely through fluttering leaves and left Indian paint patterns on our innocent faces.

Maybe there were fifty or so of us in the lot that night, none of our mothers when they walked us to kindergarten that first day and left us in the parking lot imagined their lovely child would ever end up in a place like this, even for one night. Everyone knows vacant lots are haunted by the men who once came home here where the walk was and hugged their pealing children tightly to their chests. It was almost an entire block, big enough for a baseball field. Some of us had fashioned temporary bivouac structures out of discards: cardboard boxes, found pieces of wood and orphaned plastic tarp.

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