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20 the minnesota review Peter Oresick Challenge to the Academy My brother Nick, age twenty-six, tobacco chewer, Leninist coal miner and lover of books, is offended by your verse. Says it sucks. Says it's saccharine, petty-bourgeois, sur-academic-realistic fluff he wouldn't wipe a dog's ass with. Says only your stiff corpse can make him happy. Wants a duel. I have agreed to be his second and offer you any terms you may prefer. Anywhere, in an Iowa field or in a small Appalachian gorge, he'll meet you. Don't waver long. He knows your conscience is no match for your conceit. Better now to study your dueling manual before my barrel-chested brother takes aim at your thin, Protestant neck. To the end, remember good form. And when you're reborn as a Lee-Norse Continuous Miner, remember that is my brother Nick battering you into the long wall, making you eat and breathe the black dust with him. 21 oresick Peter Oresick Shooting the Governor of Wisconsin It is not madness but the high price of milk that prompts the man. A bittern sounding like a cow and an image of tank trucks dumping milk have kept him sleepless for weeks. He is quite sane, but deeply believes in free access to milk, and his uncle sold the family farm to Japanese investors. A gun sounds to him like a tiny engine of change, while the governor sounds muffled, melancholy as a cow locked in a shed. A governor always stands guilty, but in this case it is the price of milk that sways the jury in the assassin's brain. So he squeezes the trigger, gently and quickly. ...


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