Because when, previously, they had wrenched a book out of his hands, he had stared into space so disconcertingly it made the rest of us feel like putting a bag over his head. Sometimes, if he didn't have a book, to occupy Joseph's eyes I would plant a cereal-box side panel in front of him, and his eyes would slide over and attach to the words, as if they could not do anything but roam and float in the air until words and numbers anchored them back into our world.

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