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Maryland

In the morning the doorman smiles (it’s not the best apartment complex, but it has a doorman) and calls her Beryl, and that’s who she is until she slides her card at the office and the reader recognizes GAINES, MERYL. She answers email to mary.gaines and signs off on expenses as MMmyyGOO, or something. She pays for lunch as 1222 0129 7269 4118.

“Hello, Beryl,” says the doorman again, just after dark. Hello MARYL ! say the TV Guide and Capital One.

“Hello, city,” she says through glass, as her breath fogs her cold apartment window.

Hello, lonely, says the city back.

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