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THE LAST GREAT FLOOD / Bruce Bond We live on the flood plain where the waterfowl are plentiful and news is mostly minor: two deaths, a marriage. People here know disaster comes every twenty-some years down the old route of logs and immigrants. It watermarks the restaurant walls, chalked high like a boast, hangs in photographs of ripped sUos, Christ Cathedral humbled to a single story. We are slow to forget the aquarium of its sanctuary: how the graves washed open upstream, the cow that caught the radio tower and would not tear away. It testifies to the beauty here, to the long braid of parenthood and poverty that make it hard to leave. For the river carries Uttle now in the way of logs and profit. Even as the airplane factory dragged its bad legs to Jersey for scrap, we stayed on by the stream of burials and marriage, faith and the river that is its cure. 260 · The Missouri Review ACOUSTIC SHADOWS / Bruce Bona From only a few miles away, a battle sometimes made no sound, despite the flash and smoke of cannon and the fact that more distant observers could hear it clearly. As Lee pushed North and the dead flew out of the fields in thick flocks over Pennsylvania, the first, strange reports went up over the wire: from the medical tents on WUson's Hill, people could see the cannons driving their nails of light into the boarded house of the Union and hear none of it. Who would have believed things would go this far, this long, the indestructible world their intimate stranger? For the Union soldier bound up in what he watched, high in the near silence, history was out there beating its wings against the glass. He would not move for the sight of it and clung to his bowl of boUed coffee, watching. All night, men returned through the dark grove, their hands trembling like paper. The wounded lay out on blankets in rows, sleepless under the clear sky, and the nails of remembered Ught pinned them to their bodies. The Missouri Review · 262 LEGACY / Bruce Bond The record needle lays down its thread of ruin, and the pianist dips his hands into the crackling of small fires. They are old: his record, these hands. If you listen close, you hear the pianist humming as he plays, especially over the slurred passages, unable to resist: the reserved portion of himself stepping into the body of sound. He walks cautiously into the minor movement, its slow recovery, turning the bare, remembered fragments. The hands of the dead are his hands. They descend; he descends. They move apart, and he pauses on the steps to feel their time move out from his skin and wait there. In my dream about Beethoven, he does not appear. The silence in our yard rises into two church doors: posed at the parish of another century. In my dream about Beethoven, my father is driving me faster into the black woods of D-flat. It is raining there, in the future where the dead wait, where birds are deaf to one another and sing loud on the hardened branch: I love the story of Beethoven's Ninth, how he waited with his back to the applause, hearing nothing of the instant 262 · The Missouri Review where art ends, life begins. We all imagined it moved him to turn and see the shapes of joy step out of his silent body: in the future where my father lives, I am fitted with cold hands of the dead. They are what we blow into like dice, remove at our bedsides to touch our lovers without fear. Take these as they fall back onto their separate sides of the bed into dreams of Beethoven; they do not hear where the record ends: how the needle glides into the deaf wood, the closing of the groove. Bruce Bond The Missouri Review · 263 CHINATOWN / Bruce Bond It's hot July, the year of the monkey, and the paper lanterns hang out their hopes for the furlough of a north wind. People rise from the subway stairs and fan out, skirting past the...


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