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Unformatted text preview: Max woke up.
When she was alone, she would conduct those conversations.
“So what’s all this?” Max would say. “What’s all this junk?”
“Junk?” In her mind, she was sitting on the side of the bed. “This isn’t junk, Max. These are what made you
wake up.” PRESENTS #6–#9
One feather, two newspapers.
A candy wrapper. A cloud.
The feather was lovely and trapped, in the door hinges of the church on Munich Street. It poked itself crookedly
out and Liesel hurried over to rescue it. The fibers were combed flat on the left, but the right side was made of
delicate edges and sections of jagged triangles. There was no other way of describing it.
The newspapers came from the cold depths of a garbage can (enough said), and the candy wrapper was flat and
faded. She found it near the school and held it up to the light. It contained a collage of shoe prints.
Then the cloud.
How do you give someone a piece of sky?
Late in February, she stood on Munich Street and watched a single giant cloud come over the hills like a white
monster. It climbed the mountains. The sun was eclipsed, and in its place, a white beast with a gray heart
watched the town.
“Would you look at that?” she said to Papa.
Hans cocked his head and stated what he felt was the obvious. “You should give it to Max, Liesel. See if you
can leave it on the bedside table, like all the other things.”
Liesel watched him as if he’d gone insane. “How, though?”
Lightly, he tapped her skull with his knuckles. “Memorize it. Then write it down for him.”
“. . . It was like a great white beast,” she said at her next bedside vigil, “and it came from over the mountains.”
When the sentence was completed with several different adjustments and additions, Liesel felt like she’d done
it. She imagined the vision of it passing from her hand to his, through the blankets, and she wrote it down on a
scrap of paper, placing the stone on top of it.
One toy soldier.
One miraculous leaf.
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- Winter '13