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We sit next to the barbecue, already two grown men you with a family of your own and listen to Uncle Frank tell how shrapnel spread up the back of his legs He waves a spatula at the smoke and fills his glass as he talks, white foam spills over the sides In Dresden the bodies like coals I think of the only death I ever saw We lived in a comfortable house then four rooms behind the railroad tracks a back porch, a walnut tree bodies of cars in the yard First we caught the frog in a potato chip bag then dropped him into a pot of water We were boys and your friend Mike said if the temperature is raised slowly enough the frog doesn't even notice When the afternoon is over, you carry Jenny on your shoulders to the car. Donna pushes Chris in the stroller. Everyone kisses me goodbye This is not something we do often. Years creep in between the days we see each other Driving home, I think of the voices we listen to the imperceptible progression how it starts in the garage with a broken Volkswagen Dad directing your hand on the wrench There will always be cars to repair So you follow him onto the floor of the shop bend over engines where years of oil slowly seep into the lines of your skin At night you drive home to the same neighborhood where the row of walnut trees, your daughter in the driveway with a hose, your son lifting his face from the edge of a bra, and the white head climbing the sides of your glass have nothing to do with choices It is the same life we knew with nothing but years between nothing but slowness and gradation It is not a question of happiness or repair, the reassembly of a life We have not returned with killings every night a child's face ripped from his head each time we close our eyes the smoking remains of a man on his knees We are two boys who yell Jump to a boiling frog two men who do not know destruction only this slow comfort, and the summer gradually rising around us
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Warren Wedin firstname.lastname@example.org