2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

The 2016 April PAD Challenge shuffles along to Day 2. Let’s unwrap today’s prompt.

For today’s prompt, write a what he said and/or what she said poem. Maybe he or she said a rumor; maybe he or she gave directions; or maybe he or she said something that made absolutely no sense at all. I don’t know what they said; rather, each poet is tasked with revealing that knowledge.


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Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a What He Said or She Said Poem:

“Things We Say”

What he said really isn’t that important,
but the way he said it. At least, that’s what
she said, and the way she said it really

made me think she meant it, though I couldn’t help
playing devil’s advocate. That is, I
could not help wondering: How important

are words when people are going to take
them or leave them wherever they desire?
Does language break down barriers, or does

it give people new ways to hide meaning?


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer remembers his first April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge. He spent part of it in Tennessee with his future wife, and he even spent money to “rent” online access so he could post poems from downtown Gatlinburg.

Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he gets to do a million things to help writers find more success with their writing (including this blog). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

Connect with him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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526 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

  1. seamuscorleone

    She said she wants me

    “I know I want you;
    I think you want me too.”

    My life is not ready for this.

    I already have two kids and a
    Soon to be ex wife.

    When we parted I said
    “I don’t ever want to be married again.”
    And I meant it.

    I did.

    I’ve thrown myself into working
    And I finally have time to write.
    I have had a lot more time with the kids
    And I want to do another play.

    And I want to fuck other girls!

    I was married for almost ten years and
    Religious for more than that.
    I planned on using this time to catch up for lost time.

    And then she said she wants me.
    And she thinks I want her too.

    All my post-divorce plans are stacked
    Neatly on a desk inside my heart.
    I’ve had them organized and color coded,
    Ready to enjoy this moment.
    Maybe in a decade I’ll have a girlfriend,
    I thought. No sooner than that.
    And certainly never again a wife.

    But then she said she wants me.
    And she thinks I want her too.

    And maybe I do.

    One thing I am sure of:
    She is a zephyr blowing through
    A careless window,
    Scattering all my best-laid plans
    To the wind.

  2. Anvanya

    Can This Marriage Be Saved?

    I think that you need to be careful
    About what you say to my family.

    What’s this about?

    Well, you told my sis-in-law
    That my first marriage was a bust.

    And wasn’t it? She married you for

    Which I hadn’t much of at the time,
    But she thought I’d inherit lots
    From my parents.

    And so? An estate split ten ways
    Didn’t add up to much after all of
    You and the grandchildren were

    Yeah. So she divorced me.

    Well, I was only telling the truth,

  3. dextrousdigits

    This year with each prompt I would like to attempt an acrostic poem
    His voice
    Echoed as he
    Screamed out in
    Anger at the
    Delivered by a paid off jury

    So much
    Expressed with a
    Sudden burst of tears
    As she explained
    In great
    Detail how he had visited her every night

  4. Jezzie


    She said “Come!”
    and I did, on the run.
    She said “Stay!”
    but I wanted to play.
    She said “Sit”
    and I did for a bit
    She said “Lie down”
    and I started to frown.
    She said “Din dins”
    and I fetched the tins.
    She said “Be good!”
    and I did what I should.
    She said “Out!”
    and I started to pout.
    She said “No!”
    but I wouldn’t let go.
    She thinks she’s the boss,
    well, that is her loss!

  5. Connie Biltz

    He Said She Said

    He said he’d love her forever,
    but when he said it,
    he didn’t know how long
    forever would take.
    She said she’d honor and cherish him
    before she realized
    how big of a mess
    he could make.
    He said, “I think we can do this.”
    She said, “I know we can.”
    They made it through the mess to forever
    with a lot of he saids and she saids,
    and a lot of knowing
    when to give and when to take.

    Connie Biltz
    author of Rainbow Chaser

  6. dextrousdigits

    He said,
    “I think individuals need to have a mission statement”

    I may not be a corporation or organization,
    yet I have my daily personal goals.
    My day is not complete until:
    I have made a mistake
    touched someone
    made someone smile or laugh
    been grateful
    shown appreciation
    been kind to someone
    learned something
    and recharged my batteries.

  7. Thedeb

    He said I couldn’t grow a tree
    from a coconut.
    I said it was worth a try.
    This coconut was her baby, the last vestige
    of our lovely lady taken by the wind.
    The other palms swayed and stroked each other.
    The sound of the ocean
    in the movement of their fronds.
    There was an empty place where
    Hurricane Wilma had taken her booty.
    The crusty brown sheath fit into
    the empty place nicely.
    The months passed
    and a green sprout emerged.
    Life from life.
    She stands proudly in her mother’s place,
    a legacy to family ties.

    Sent from my iPad

  8. shellcook

    His 4 Year Old Self

    I was on the moon
    with my owl flying beside me.
    When it was time to go,
    I ran to my rocket,
    and i said “weeeeeeeee”,
    but i fell down.

    She said, oh my,
    Were you hurt.
    He said no,
    but it scared me
    and i started to cry.

    Oh no. She said.
    Are you alright now.
    Yes, i am okay,
    and i went to the moon.

    He said all of this
    with a sense of excitement
    that only four year olds
    can really discern.

    Serious truths here.
    Mind to mind and
    lips to ear.

  9. BDP

    “A Storage Place For Prologue”: Ghazal

    So long, should I still clasp grief words she said?
    You’re such a horse’s ass: that’s what she said.

    As if I give a damn: pain decades gone.
    A room of pillows smothers, blacks out what she said.

    Back then, soft bulwarked meanness, used too-many times.
    I snatched defense at hand—it even now combats the crap she said.

    I’m known for masoned squares, the need stretched wide, although
    she once broke through: “Forgive my lapses.” That, she said.

    I’ve since let go, yet store her barbs in cushions.
    As she lay dying: Mom, the past is past, that’s what I said.

    —Barb Peters

  10. fayina

    Still Life with Parvin Dying

    She said
    the lemons you paint
    don’t look much like lemons
    but she was laughing
    when she said don’t paint
    me like that

    there she was in her
    garden before she knew
    or maybe she’d had a vision
    of the future burning out

    like a distant star
    like the seven stars
    of her name

    and afterward I think
    her husband took the children
    back to his gray island

    and afterward
    I finished painting the lemons

  11. pipersfancy

    Last Conversation

    She spilled her heart out to him,
    shared all the hurts he’d caused,
    until he wept and begged for her
    forgiveness, begged her to stay,
    begged for just one more chance—
    and promised to be a better man.

    And, as he reached out
    for the bottle he said, “I love you.”

    “I’ve heard it all before”, she said,
    and left him at the kitchen table.

  12. Shell


    It’s not the words

    It’s easy to look into pools of caramel,
    Oceans of blue,
    a sea of green
    If only to get lost in a moment
    Words flow like wine,
    or poison
    They can lift up the poignant of spirits
    They can crush and ruin the happiest
    A spark is created,
    then put out too abruptly

    It’s not the words

    What was said is a lie
    What was said is the truth
    What is said is said,
    There are no take backs
    Accommodation of actions is the true meaning of any word
    Gestures of good will
    Gestures of misfortune
    Character is judged on actions,
    actions isolate emotions

    It’s not the words

    He said
    she said
    they say
    it’s the deed

    By Shell Ochsner

  13. Anders Bylund

    I found a blogger from some distant lands,
    Who wrote–“One vast and purple letter Y
    Hangs on a stone wall… Near it, still there stands
    Half rent asunder, Sunnyvale’s black eye,
    The walls now far from being fortress-like
    Though still they stand and may be worth a pound–
    I jest, a penny or a farthing each–
    In days of yore, these four walls would surround
    The very gates to our Cyberspace;
    The very ticket to your online reach.
    And on that wall, cried from a gladder place:
    Do you Yahoo? That crumbling wall is cracked
    And overgrown like an antique rock-face.
    The once so joyous call turned cold, abstract.”

  14. LizMac

    Outer Edge

    Words swim in finitude,
    Gather at glass edges
    To marvel mutely
    At cimmerian places,
    Where music only
    May travel till
    It too melts
    Breathless away.

  15. LizMac

    Sticks and Stones

    She said it with a smile
    That sent poison to the heart,
    She said welcome
    And wished you’d go away,
    She said it with anger
    That refused to listen,
    She said it was just her opinion
    When none other mattered,
    She said, be reasonable
    Where reason wasn’t wanted,
    She learnt to wield
    Words like weapons,
    Build barricades of beauty,
    Citadels of silence,
    Laugh at collapse
    From the phantom blow.

  16. Shaindel Beers

    Private Property

    for Andrew

    The poet says, This is for you; buy something warm,
    presses enough cash into the homeless man’s small palm
    that I wonder if he knows what he’s holding,

    if it’s enough to put him in danger. The homeless man
    keeps going through the trash outside the fancy restaurant
    we’re leaving. The one where I’ll be paying off my meal

    for months. He puts a Gatorade bottle, a Rockstar can
    into his shopping cart. The policeman says, You can’t do that.
    The homeless man scurries down the street the way I used

    to watch roaches scatter when I’d turn on the kitchen lights
    in Texas. Why? Why can’t he do that? the poet asks,
    his central European accent thick, emotion making his

    English stick in his mouth. The trash here is private property,
    the cop says. His job, to keep the homeless out of sight, away
    from the glitzy lights of L.A. Live. I want to tell the poet

    that what he did was lovely, right. But my voice is a trapped
    animal that can’t crawl out my throat. The poet folds his long
    body into the cab, where we all feel him quake with quiet rage.

  17. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Delegated Authority

    Summers were long and lazy
    when I was young
    the sun hot and air sultry.
    Thick with shade
    the backyard beckoned
    my books and me
    I had no responsibility …

    But one day my mother
    put me in charge
    of my little brothers.

    I was old enough, said she
    to keep my eye on their antics
    get them lunch, wash the dishes
    and make sure they did not
    mess the house up.
    She’d only be gone
    a few hours.

    My little brothers tumbled
    all through the house
    did not like the lunch
    and refused to help
    me clean anything up.

    “You’re not the boss of me,”
    shouted one. “You’re only
    my sister and not a very
    nice one,” said he as he
    stuck out his tongue.

    They raced outside to play.
    You’d think the Cat in the Hat
    had made the mess they left
    behind for me that day.

    So much for my mother
    putting me in charge.

  18. LoriP

    Tl;Dw (Too long; Don’t wait)

    Call you right back
    I’ll wait by the phone
    Sorry so long, buddies were here
    It’s ok, I love you, Dear
    Raincheck tonight? Work, you know.
    I’ll be here when you come home
    How about this instead of that
    That’s a pain, but if it’s what you want
    We have tonight or nothing, let me be blunt
    Sorry, tonight I have to feed the cat

  19. Funkomatic

    Admission is what he said
    Confession, after a type, a small sin
    Permission of one waiting
    Letting in a lover at the door

    Remission was her reply
    Cancellation of obligations
    Reduction of imprisonment
    Recuperation for her heart.

  20. Yolee

    The Red-Eye

    It was a Saturday afternoon when you came back
    home to jump right in to our weekend routine. You
    didn’t speak about it. I wondered about the weight
    of the casket and the strangeness of carting your old
    school mate’s body in a procession where words
    are put away like shorts and tank-tops in the Winter.
    I thought of how his widow may have missed saying:
    I’m glad you’re here
    to her supporters because she wrestled with what she
    said to her husband of 30 years the night before he
    was found in an unwakeable sleep. I thought of how
    words whispered to the dead is more about unfinished
    business the living have with exchanges that take place
    under the bone of the matter. The next day we rode
    quietly to church except that the toast and coffee
    wasn’t enough to keep your stomach from growling.

  21. Melahlah

    She sat in her hospital bed
    Silent, a contented smile on her face,
    Deceptively peaceful
    As she methodically unwound the protective bandage,
    Her goal again the I.v. needle underneath.
    Unaware I was there
    Until I gently tried to stop her, distract her.
    Then, I was like a fly she tried to shoo away
    That kept coming back
    Irritating her to the point of outrage.
    Threatening to punch my face,
    She said she’d kill me.
    Afraid she’d yank out the I.v.,
    I called for the cavalry,
    A nurse probably as exhausted as I was,
    Who said they had it covered.
    Go home.

    I prayed for rest for my mother as I drove home.
    Rest from the monster that made her someone else,
    Someone she would have hated to be.
    I wished for rest for me,
    And was crushed by guilt when that rest came.
    That was almost a year ago.
    I know now she is at peace,
    And I am beginning to let go of the guilt.
    For my own sanity.
    Because I remember
    She loved me.

      1. Melahlah

        Thank you. I was apprehensive about sharing it, but I’m glad I did. For some reason, it’s easier for me to share the hard stuff with people who don’t know me but share the common bond of writing.

  22. Domino

    1 – The Magician

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    children of every age,
    today, before your very eyes
    I will make the lady disappear.

    Pay close attention as I tightly shut
    my heart, locking her outside.
    And with a wave of my wand
    and a few magic words,
    It’s not you, it’s me,
    she disappears

  23. Lindy™

    Of a Saint

    Good things come to those who wait
    but you mustn’t wait too long
    It played inside her head
    like a never ending song

    Waiting was the hardest part
    trying, to say the least
    Good and bad both came and went
    and sometimes there was peace

    In a rush or still and hushed
    everything rearranged
    She didn’t see the point
    of letting fate decide what changed

    “Leave waiting to the foolish.”
    she said when all was over
    “Patience is not a virtue
    It’s an instrument of torture.”

  24. Sharon


    No, he said, this isn’t my way,
    no not this way, on this day.
    You say yes, and he says, No, no!
    You want to stop, he said, Go, go!
    He said, ‘tis best to move,
    and get out of this grove.
    No more stalling,
    a habit appalling,
    when life yells – Action!
    and not by a fraction.
    So, he said, get your butt in gear,
    it’s time for you to get out of here.

  25. Asha1000


    She wished him Happy Birthday, then
    added, “the secret
    to long life is to be
    positive, active and eat less.”

    When asked, he said she said
    he was positively
    an activist for food
    security that won him years
    of honeyed health,
    a busy bee social life
    and beeswax candles on his cake.

    by Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  26. lily black

    Ms P

    She said she’d leave me a sign.
    I can’t remember which one
    she said.
    But I said, “Leave me a “P”
    Then I heard it could be coins
    maybe a cardinal.
    But she said
    I’ll give you more.
    Money will fall from the skies
    reminding you of me
    Beads rain from the shower
    mixing with your tears
    All the flowers blooming brightly
    Sobbing scents of color
    You will not cut
    Birds will fill the tree of life
    Life will be
    without me
    she said
    but Good luck
    finding a “P.”

  27. DCR1986

    And Earful of Miss Communication

    An Earful

    This morning I had an earful.
    They said, “He said this and she said that”.
    And I failed to hear from my right to my left ear.
    Because I rather catch the buzz
    about the places I want to see,
    examine some solutions,
    chi-chat about a revolution,
    or play with some words to uplift a spirit or two.
    Hell, anything better than gossip will do!


    With all the new technology,
    we forget about the writings on the wall,
    the language of the eyes and the body.
    And when we do listen to hearsay,
    some of us don’t even read between the lines
    to understand what he or she really said.
    Or why.

    Danielle C. Robinson

    1. Melahlah

      I like this! Especially the lines, “With all the new technology,
      we forget about the writings on the wall,
      the language of the eyes and the body.”
      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  28. J.lynn Sheridan

    “The Bog”


    Bordering the vast Missouri River,
    in the silver deep of April’s grit and thunder,
    a pair of rusted gates swagger and clash
    in the cunning mire—

    steeped in bleak acres of peat and marine
    waste, slogged in dewy pods of morning—
    a million creepers, throats bloated with
    warty threats, posture for poison passion.

    Along the Rock Island Rail, the conductor
    swigs his mug of dank coffee. His cold red
    eyes twitch; the air is heavy with sap and
    bourbon pipe smoke.

    The first mate pours another round
    of steaming joe as the freighter crosses
    the dawdling Swing Bridge. His full-bobbed
    beard hides his sarcastic smile and the flush
    of his cheeks while he dribbles turbid cream
    into the mug.

    An hour later, he pushes the body into the wind;
    it wedges between the swaying river gates.


    The night beat Chronicle reporter splashes
    the morning headlines: Duck hunters find
    swollen corpse in a foot of peat, entwined
    in garter snakes and Fowler’s toads.


    Lillian, pretty in pink, lacy and lashed, blinks
    away a splash of faux guilt, removes her silver
    rings and drops them into a jar of cream—
    toxic and warty.

    “Imaginative old fool,” she whispers into
    the first mate’s ear.

    “That you are,” he whispers with a sarcastic
    smile and hands her a cup of coffee.

  29. MarciaG

    She said she had been a dancer once.
    buoyancy supreme-floating on air,
    individual orbs spinning, interlocking,
    cogs of the universe. each step is light,
    her heels worn but sculpted.
    She said she longed for the stillness of the stage, the floor bending to her ballet slippers.
    except this time she dances with a broom,
    a song etched in her being. vault
    off the porch steps, legs dangerously aloft.
    She said she had always pulsed with the music, her heart beating on cue.
    the honor in each plié, firmly rooted
    in the earth. she is the offspring of a breath
    of wind, dreams in her eyes. still she sings
    with energy, her fingers lithe.
    She said she had been a dancer once.
    she walks the long path
    back home, wizened face outstretched
    to the sky,
    fading with the clouds.

    Note: Ballon is the lightness and grace of movement that a skilled ballerina possesses.

  30. anindeliblemark


    I grew up in quiet.
    A house
    laced mute with creeping vines.
    You grew up loud.
    A garden,
    sprawling metropolis of weeds.

    You could never understand my quiet,
    the space between it and silence,
    the way mum affection savors strongly of indifference.

    When you fell silent,
    I felt the weight of all the things I never said,
    and the burdened lightness
    of everything you had.

  31. James Von Hendy


    He said “every breath you take,
    Every move you make . . .
    I’ll be watching you,” but we loved

    the song, its sleepy hypnosis,
    “you” invisible to us. Instead
    we saw the man in a wife-beater

    wronged, how his “poor heart
    ached.” You, the shadowed one,
    a figment of dark desire.

    You, every step you took,
    did you listen for his footsteps
    dogging you at every corner,

    his words hanging in the air
    no matter where you turned
    the dial? Was every breath

    an inhalation of fear,
    a sleepless panic when he said
    “Oh, can’t you see, you belong to me”?

  32. fhaedra

    Her lapel button read
    ‘Catch me if you Can’
    and he noticed she spoke
    in riddles he found barely charming.

    She said she loved Leo
    She said she loved his lies
    She said she loved to run
    She said she licked the sky
    She paused and he stood smoking
    watching her mouth and all the words
    that leaked out.

    She breathed deeply the continued
    She said she looked familiar
    She said she loved cows
    She said she loved yellow bivouacs
    She said she believed in now.

    And he coughed a polite cough before
    he turned to walk away.
    ‘Catch me if you can’ she called
    before she flapped away.

  33. lionmother

    Political Dialogue – A Fictional representation loosely based on the current Democratic candidates

    it was just political banter
    the kind most candidates
    engage in before the ultimate battle
    when each wanna be pushes the other
    hoping he or she will tip over like an egg
    left too close to the edge of the counter
    and fall splat with egg shells scattered
    and he said she had taken from the rich
    oil consortiums making her evil and tainted
    as if she were a rotten egg he wanted to
    push over to lie there
    with the yolk of her soul
    bleeding out for all to see
    and she said he was daft
    for she had not truly taken from the
    companies, but she had from the workers
    who toiled for those companies
    and he said still there is the money
    you have compared to my measly sum
    and you are carrying the mantel of those
    one percent into the battle
    while I am representing the ninety-niners
    who clearly adore my direction
    and she said, but you have no experience
    for you it is an entry level job
    while I have traversed the world and nattered
    with the finest of the leaders
    and he said, who cares
    if your country is starving and you are
    hand in glove with the people who have
    caused this?
    copyright 2016 by Barbara Ehrentreu

  34. Joseph Hesch


    When he told her that he loved her
    she said she loved him too.
    But language is a funny thing,
    when cast between the sexes,
    especially when parsed through a man’s
    freshly unwrapped rose-colored heart.
    Men can talk and talk, she said,
    but only in horizontals and verticals.
    He said he guessed women listen
    in italics, hearing words expressed
    in the softness and curve of emotion,
    all-italics How as much as the What.
    So she plumbed and leveled her
    “She said”into a well-constructed “He said,”
    gently outlining that Love doesn’t
    necessarily mean In Love. But as
    an evolving man, and felt encouraged
    her words’ soft tone, by the warmth
    of her brown eyes, and in an expression
    of a love finally shared, he took her
    into his arms. That’s when she angled
    her knee squarely between his temporarily
    upright legs and he uttered a long
    “ooooh,” of recognition that even
    this evolved man ultimately understood.

  35. Randrew

    over his head

    like verse penned with great care
    her words
    mean more than
    just what’s written there

    or are these doubts delayed
    and ruminations
    merely figments
    of imagination

    running fevered o’er ellipsis
    betwixt lines perspective shift is
    subtle and sublime

    or height of hubris to believe
    he’s target of what is perceived

    the truth in all this consternation
    regarding what she said
    and meant
    the truth regardless of intention
    right over head with heels
    it went

  36. shellkaysm

    Pointing Fingers

    Childhood buried in the down of a pillow
    security abandoned by chaos’ return
    No space for playing make-believe
    when reality is already too unreal

    Shivering gasps escape hopeless lips
    grade-school cries muffled, denied
    Confused and saturated by defeat,
    the bruised bystander concedes their battle

    Grasping misplaced sobs–their own innocence
    fingers point toward the tiny silhouette
    Desperate, she said, “Look what you’re doing!”
    Wounded, he said, “That’s the reason why.”

    Their well-intentioned faults created demons
    The damage is done
    the answers meaningless
    even after maturity bears its mirrored truth.

  37. Alaina Dawson

    she said “I’m not as happy as I once was”
    he said “but you still want to be together?”
    she nodded her head and he let the conversation go to rest
    but since that day she hasn’t stopped thinking about the silence that followed
    and how it felt a whole lot like the happiness slipping further away
    since the day she said “I’m not as happy as I once was”
    it just hasn’t been the same

  38. deborahbgkelly

    She said, “Who would send flour?”
    He said, “it was going to be a surprise.The store wouldn’t let me enclose a card in case the flour spilled.” Mystery solved. He did it.

    In another land, about 1,000 miles away: She was getting ready to leave choir when her phone rang.
    He said, “Did you get a flour or something?”
    She said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
    He said, “You should have gotten a package or I’ve been lied to by the company where I bought it.”
    She said, “I haven’t been home all afternoon. So, I’ll check when I get there.”

    As she drove home, intrigued, she wondered to herself, “a flower or a flour or what?”
    When she got home, lo and behold, there was a package waiting for her.
    Indeed, as he said there would be, “a flour” was inside.
    He hadn’t totally ruined the surprise, though. A very exciting book had come with it.
    All of her Jewish favorites plus a few, updated to reflect her now very limited diet.
    She just couldn’t wait to make her kitchen into a “New Yiddish Kitchen!”

  39. Alphabet Architect


    “It’s just a sweet little kitten,” she said.
    “How much trouble can she cause?”
    And as he looked into those eyes
    (Whose eyes, I can’t be sure),
    His resolve melted into a saucer of cream
    That Kitten licks from her whiskers each morning
    While sitting on his keyboard.

  40. usedname

    Dangerous whispers

    The words you whispered behind closed doors,
    Has remained in the air and clung to me like silt,
    In layer after layer of lead,
    I’m buckling at my knees from the weight,
    I’m waiting for an answer which never comes.

    Like ashes, they burn as I breathe them in,
    I can feel my throat closing,
    They have stolen my breath
    Why can you just tell me they are lies?

    The door is wide open and I can hear, quite clearly
    Every spiteful thing you have said.
    So why are you smiling down on me with those blank eyes?

  41. artifiswords


    All I said was that it’s mine
    Any court would back me
    To that she took offense…
    I worked my fingers
    To the bone for it
    Is there no recompense?
    But one feeling entitled
    Won’t bow to common sense
    So I questioned her humanity
    Her reply left me incensed…
    That’s how the argument began

    © 2016 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also at:


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