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Hardheads

By the hundreds, the last several nights at high tide, they've washed ashore and been bulldozed

before daybreak to the dunes, tainting the salty air with the smell of fresh fish rot.

They lie ghoulishly prostrate in the hot sun, their rubbery whiskers crusted with sand, their once slippery skin

sun-buffed to a mat gray. Their mouths have dried partially open to a permanent sneer, their lives so hardened

by the Gulf that their dorsal spines, even after death, will puncture the plies of new truck tires.

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