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One November day, at the age of eleven, Proserpina got a hammer from the servants’ quarters and broke the tabs for most of the keys on her mother’s new Baldwin upright piano. Her mother, quite unprepared for the discipline required–she had not punished Proserpina in years–broke her right wrist. Forbidden to write with her left hand, Proserpina was withdrawn from school for the remainder of the term. She spent it in the solarium, pensive, wrapped in a blanket with hot bricks at her feet.

The hammer hadn’t touched the keys. Not once. She sucked the scabs on her knuckles.