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16 THE MISSOURI REVIEW QUERY / Joyce Carol Oates For instance, why does the blood coagulate: why does the tiny mouth of a wound turn prim when touched by air: why don't we drain away like fluid in cracked vases? And why is it an axiom that the posthumous move among us airy of spirit: why do they claim more, claim us: why are their grins earth-full and wicked? Why are there certain weathers that contract giants to shadows: that reduce the splendor of our cries to echoes: the blossom of our souls to mere seeds? Joyce Carol Oates 17 HOLY SATURDAY / Joyce Carol Oates For Milton White The imperial city was heaped with broken concrete we tried all night to piece together again blinded by the glare of headlights from cars and vans our timid fingers minutely stung In play men of the city carried their smaller companions high in play they threw them down onto the rubble we unloosed fire-bright sirens, we consulted our maps the web of stars overhead had begun to fray Intoxicated with pride the great Schopenhauer was flown about in a Detroit police helicopter "Here—and here—and here also! And here" he shouted above the heaving streets The night was snarled and immense and pocked with tiny lights and I do not think we have come to the end for our heads reel like cracked crockery and the stench of oil is on our clothes and at midnight one of the children shot his younger brother dead with a .22 rifle of his father's and again we unloosed sirens, we flattened our wrinkled maps Once day came we could of course rejoice in tulips delicate as the streaked shells of painted Easter eggs— and the Bell Tower on the green stroke by stroke defining its noble art against an eager country silence ...


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