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Shoemaker 13 Lynn Shoemaker Interview/Vietnam/1987 Napalm Woman/Looking at a Photo of Herself/1967 Twenty years. Thousands of daytimes, nights. And still this picture never catches up, never catches up to my screaming. Even as my legs burn, they run. I am running away from my sisters, friends, our circle gone, away from where the fire fell, sticking to my neck, back, and downwards even to my bare feet. I am running towards where my mother should be But she is not there. At first, no one helps me. They can't believe that I am rushing past them, my clothes, my hair burnt off, my back still on fire. Then, I fall. My screams won't come out anymore. Napalm sucks air. Napalm sucks everthing in air. I was caught just outside of my friend's front door. Not even my screams got away. What was left? After the burning? I could not answer what fell from the sky. My head against the road, my hands clawing at air, at dirt, begging something to hold to besides the pain. I did not do what the whispers said. I lived. A neighbor threw sand on my back. 14 the minnesota review Skin went up in smoke. From me. From the hands of those who tried and tried to help. I was left a black grit. Sharp bits of breath in my mouth like small explosions. You were not there to feel them. I have never grown breasts. They would break the saving scars. I have never grown pregnant. What child would come live in me? My boyfriend, blind soldier at eighteen, rubs his hands across my back. "Like ridges and tunnels," he whispers. My face rejects his hands. It rejects new skin and brows and lashes. I look out from behind my scar wall. Others look in. I am a looking game for my village friends, and now for you. No more photos, interviews. For years you've followed my story. In all that time, you've never really felt my face. Reporter, news man, when will you touch my body? In that touching is your only new story. If my skin forgives you, if my face accepts your touch, your words will know that they too are nothing more than scars. ...


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pp. 13-14
Launched on MUSE
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