Portland Airport, an hour before dawn, a passel of passengers, more festive than paranoid, seen through portals ringing when metal's detected by newly-minted federal inspectors.

The mysteries of the forge
declassified too soon?

Dogs sniff baggage for gunpowder traces and scrapes of food. My bag slides through unquestioned, shoes not searched for explosives, while a brown-skinned man is embarrassed in his socks.

Today I am a Muslim. Flying to the last vestiges of a fledgling life, taking my bearings by the heavenly pole, the earliest case of a Chinese identification of a barbarian group with the canine species is that of the Dog Jung. This barbaric people (jung means 'wild, warlike, barbaric') are located, in the 'Geography of the Tribute of Yü,' to the northwest of Shang China. Later, in the approximately fourth-century B.C. Shan-hai ching, they are situated in the 'great northern wilderness.' These Dog Jung are said, in the same source, to be guided to the edge of Mother's grave freshly scooped out beside Father's bones.

Yisgadal v'yis

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