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15 Fi r e Pr o o f Willie De La Beckwith He would come home from evening rallies and secret meetings so in love with me I could never see nothing wrong with what he did with his hands. I just pretended I didn’t know what gunpowder smelled like or why he kept his rifles so clean. If he walked through that door and said, “Willie, burn these clothes,” I’d pile them on the coals and stare at the fire. I’d listen to the music twix the crackle and calm as we danced. And while the ashes gathered ’round their own kind in the bottom of the grate I’d watch the embers glow like our bedroom did. Now, I ain’t saying he was right or wrong. He often confused hatred with desire. But if you ain’t never set a man on fire, felt him explode inside you then die in your arms, honey, you got no idea what I’m talking about. ...

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