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43 van winckel Nance Van Winckel Reporting the Flood As usual you immediately recognize my voice and my true intentions. This phone call, I say, is only to tell you that last flood posed no threat to me. On your end what could have passed for fear goes dead. Click. Behind the electric voice another voice tries to register. It is counting. The years since you last saw a real river. Or the blue chords of my eyes . . . seven, eight The river you remember you remember only as hiatus, a small violet line on the map where once we paused long enough for you to pull my legs under until I doubled up backward, all knees and shoulders and bends of pain. There was a flood worth the telling. We have lived for the time to repeat it — between the underground cables and sudden currents, coming up now to suck in a hundred miles of raw air. Between the two of us, distant other ends, grounding something. 44 the minnesota review Nance Van Winckel Thoughts on His Last Morning for James Forrestal, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, about whom it was discovered after his suicide that he had, as he had claimedfor three years, been under constant surveillance by Israeli agents. On the top floor of Bethesda he looks down from his window, thinking what he's thinking this morning could be a last thought, a clear white line stretched tight from ear to ear, but of course, only an ozone of snow to those doctors who continually gossip about the rattle of his eyes. He is thinking of the woman, his wife, the way she stood leaning on the top deck's rail as her long white boat pushed the dock away. She waved a gloved hand and grew smaller and smaller until just her five thin fingers remained in the light air beneath him. He's sure he sees them down there, the same dark men in tan suits. They frown up at him, then turn again to the bright photos in their magazines. They would never be surprised at any of his thoughts, especially this one, the one of the fall. He thinks of it now as fainting, a man standing up after a winter in bed. Those two words he knows the doctors have pinned to his name, idee fixe, belong to someone obsessed, not to him, lately only mildly interested in anything but the wind filling out his pajamas, or an old war memory of men who could drop from the sky and hit bottom hard enough to set loose their eyes. ...


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