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WARNING / Laura Kasischke Here they've hacked some poor smoker into steaks and made us a sUdeshow of his lungs. The tile in the bathroom of the community coUege is cold, and there's a chaos of faces before I faint and the dull beU of my head on the floor summons the smoking dead from their graves, the rumpled lungs of my uncles, the creamy corpse-eyes of my friends and the earth faUs apart Uke dirt as I try to hold my own crumbling chest together. A girl has run to get my husband who is having a cigarette outside. We have to quit I teU him on the car ride home and I show him the message from the Surgeon General as I smack the last one out of the pack. The first day passes so slow we can feel our hair grow, even under our arms, our eyelashes even. Then 200 · The Missouri Review the elementary school where we were students burns to the ground, just some rags left flapping on the flag-pole, nostrils and ashes, steaming volcanoes, and the message a dead bird brings us as it faUs at our feet in a soggy baU. Before we go to bed I rip my underwear off. Someone has poisoned my black bra and my torso has turned to roast beef. I hear my husband grind his teeth all night in sleep and in the morning he roUs over in bed to smile at me and the teeth are gone, just a bloody smithereen left hanging from his gums, a molar on his pUlow. We choose our plots that same day at the CathoUc cemetery —two together just beyond the chain-Unk fence, where the suicides are buried beside the musicians. Laura Kasischke The Missouri Review · 202 LAUNDRY /Laura Kasischke My mother wailed into it when my father's red shirt turned the white sheets pink. She perished there in the cold basement pounding her fists into the concrete floor untU she cracked the foundation of our house and it aU came crashing down aU the cheap lumber and aluminum and the white sparks of the fuse box snapping and the red volts and the blue stars. The roof came to rest on our beds and the furniture turned to tears. We Uved there anyway for years and my father could never fix a thing. He even let the plumbing twist itself into the worst kind of trouble, until it woke us every night with its screaming doubled-over in agony: The old household miracle of running water became my father's grief. They had too much to do, but death 202 · The Missouri Review came along anyway and carried my parents out of there in its fat hands. Laura Kasischke The Missouri Review · 203 THUNDER, OR A PLACE IN THE SUN/ Laura KasischL· i. The gods are bowling in heaven tonight: Their wives cry into their own black hair whUe the kitchen's strange machinery minces and hatches. I arrange this. I arrange that. I move from room to room. 2. Lightning strikes me as simUar to love. The ruins in some countries are tooth-white and stunning in sun, piUars holding up nothing but blue air and Ught. He writes on the back of the postcard I always knew something somewhere was holding that up, didn't you? 3. My friend teUs me that high heels were invented to keep housewives from running away, Uke the fists 104 · The Missouri Review of bound feet in China, lovely as doves and blunt as clubs. True enough, I teU her I've never run but my heart is a boot with blood on it. 4. There's a long line outside the Uquor store on Fridays in the summer: The lottery and beer. We're aU in the same line, the same boat here. In A Place in the Sun there is the old woman warble of loons and square-jawed AUce, her face grows larger and larger in our boat. Behind us, the sum hope of the idle rich. Before us, fog crinolins out of the CampbeU's soup, a muddle of plaid furniture and...


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