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MY OLD GERMAN GIRL FRIEND'S / Ira Sadoff apartment was full of ties. I lied to her every chance I got: straightened my curly hair, learned manners to excess. I would have sold my family's jewels to share a single moment in her bed. Past York Avenue, the rows of delicatessens, past the East River basin where bodies often floated up in plastic bags, past the WiIHs Avenue Bridge, the free trips to the South Bronx, I thought heaven was bedding down in Hamburg, I thought of taking pictures of every segment of her flesh I feared I wouldn't remember, but I remember every strained and unspoken moment of adolescence: the day Kennedy was shot I pumped that angry loss into Christa's small center—shaky as I was, when the Berlin Wall shot up out of nowhere, when my Russian grandma intercepted our phone calls, heard the hard syllables offer the obscenity of unguarded love, I shivered some but would not stop. 20 · The Missouri Review VILLAINS / Ira Sadoff after Ritsos We hate them all, though we're also proud of them. Gradually we'llremember some, orbuildmonuments to those who brought them down. What better sign of our concern? Thank God they understood us, they knew everything before the fact. A few of them are pulled by horses tied to their ankles, sell brand-new clothes at auctions, carry calling cards and deeds to useless properties. Mornings they'll disperse from their basements, deep in conversation, refuse a smoke. It's bad for their health. One on the subway, knife in his raincoat, two in the Pentagon peering down the throats of their missies; the oldest on the ceiling, a nasty old man, ties his motherin knots to the chandelier. Soon, in the upstairs apartment, we'll see the shades pulled up, the lights go on, and the uninvited—those of us without distinction or title, the sightseers—will knock to be let in on a game of five-card stud, knowing the deck is stacked against us: we want to watch the way the cards are marked. The Missouri Review ¦ 22 ...


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