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WE SHALL ALL BE BORN AGAIN BUT WE SHALL NOT ALL BE SAVED / William Matthews "We're going," the paramedics said (how I burned to be part of that we), "to take you to the hospital." It would be life as a direct object for a while. Into the ambulance they slid me like a loaf of bread. There would be tests, I understood, to see why my heart beat in triplets, and I could see it myself, on TV, an hour in the afternoon like a soap opera. Echo-cardiogram, they called it. "Narcissus, is there someone else?" I watched my eager heart lash and batter for an hour, only its normal violence, an intern assured me, but she came back and back abnormally to see me: "Can I listen to your heart?" I couldn't trust her. My green heart on TV looked violent. This would be an inside job. Who could break one of those but itself? It's never been that we have bodies: we are bodies. I had to trundle a kind of aluminum coatrack along the hall just to pee, because of the IV, and I had to eat essence of junket, and nurses brought me pills in little paper thimbles. This balm of obedience and stupor, I thought while I vomited blood, is all my docile study. I'd been too sick to take my own side in a fight, but against whom? 30 · The Missouri Review Another day, I'd learn the obvious, that it was me, but that's another story. In this one I'm untethered from my machines, my mild, green-faced flock, and can walk around weakly on my own, can pack my bags and pills and go out into Boston safe to die some other day. "How will this change your life?" My heart will push me along like a good rhythm section. I plan to notice everything. William Matthews The Missouri Review · 31 ...


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