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CAESAREAN / Stuart Friebert Pliny Usted the chUdren who had been cut from their mothers' wombs. If any woman dies pregnant, cut out the chUd, PompiUus decreed. The Church agreed. They are people like us, we say, coldly. Everywhere the planks were rotten, iron bands rusty. But it seemed possible to break through the stomach waU. After aU, the amniotic fluid's just a tiny sea. If you're Caesarean like me, you don't have to have therapy to know the womb's so smaU its tiny islands crowd it, and there's no turning back. If it means separation, let it be separation, the priest said. Across the courtyard horses jingled their harnesses. A darkness of the space inside was then made. There, he's got some Ufe, he must Uve it now, the doctor observed. We must have been huge fools, I think, not to have brought a gun along. The latchkey wül dick behind us, we've locked ourselves out and now we're busy thinking of a good prank we might play next time around. The Missouri Review · 269 BUT NAMES WILL NEVER HURT YOU / Stuart Friebert HiUeI used to say, To the place I wish to be, there do my feet bring me. Excited almost beyond recognition. I came upon him after scuffling with the bulUes down the block. There is nothing to be afraid of here, he said good-naturedly, pulling out his pipe. But they caUed me aU sorts of names, even Kike! Of course they did, he said, Ughting up. I guess they've had good luck, because you ran away. I had no command of my tongue, and thought he couldn't guess my agony. His smaU face, at rest, with curls falUng over it, looked like a sick chUd's. Above, the stars dragged through the sky like anchors. I leaned on a trunk for breath. Come see me after supper, he said, We'U have a better talk then. I shook my head. If you're in a field with your father and a tiny beU sounds from near or far, you're sure to pay attention to nothing else, tul the sound can be heard no longer. Now go on home, wash those scratches, eat everything up and knock on my door at eight sharp. Is that the miracle, I say to myself, Brightening with each thing laid aside? 270 · The Missouri Review LITTLE BY LITTLE / Stuart Friebert It's past that time now, sit there in front of me on that hassock, thafs a good lad. What I object to is seeing a good boy turned into a bad. Imagine, being the offspring of Leda and that swan, cracking through that speckled egg, eating too quickly, rushing off to rescue someone like Helen, dead for ages in an oceanic sky. There'U be no exceptions: returning to a world Ut by a single fixture, we find a door, run in, get as far as the kitchen stool, faU to rubbing our eyes. Open them again: there's Helen to teU our fortune, how our fathers wül return, tie us to branches, leave us hanging a moment, tul we wish we'd never been educated so well. The Missouri Review · 272 ...


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