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47 kuzma Greg Kuzma A Farewell To Arms We did not go to the country. We did not like sleeping with the light on so we shut it off. In the fall, the war still on, we did not go to it anymore. Rain all the long day, then the sun came out, we did not care, or sleep. We did not begin at the place they told us to begin at, and so we did not reach the shut-off point at the right time. We were not sufficiently ill bred for that accident. Later, in the dark, when all the others were kissing, we just lay back in the straw and watched the stars slip and slide all along the great room of the sky. A knock at the door, the wind under the door, the wind moving the door latch, we did not get up, we were too tired to get up. We did not file the income tax at the proper time. We did not take advantage of the special trial ofer. When they put the Christmas decorations up we did not reach deep into our pockets or clutch at the hands of our children. Someone tossed a microphone down into the audience, but we did not speak into it anymore. We just sat there, in our chairs, and looked straight up and out, past all the faces and the darkness, into the world beyond. Finally it came time to be counted. We did not stand up. Neither did we sit down. When they came to our house to see how many Jews we were hiding, we did not answer them. We did not resist. We just stood there holding the door. A long line of excited people moved in and out. There was this person bedecked in glamourous gold and silver, but we did not salute, neither did we bow down. 48 the minnesota review Then came the big battle. Jake sat across from me at the table in the little shop. The waitress came around, her breasts dropping over us. When offered a bottle of wine, first Jake rejected it, and then it was offered to me. Positively I had no thirst, no desire for wine. We sat there in the twilight with the guns going. We sat there where the gods had once sat, where freedom had been born, and said nothing. Afterwards they came around looking for old clothes, or tin, or anything which might be of some use. We gave them nothing. We had nothing. A big truck pulled up outside and the whole back of it opened. It looked like a deep spot in the ocean. Later the rain came and the sun disappeared. We could not have gone to the opera even if we had wanted to. When the wafer was presented to me in the church I did not get down on my knees, nor did a blush rise up along my cheek and temple. Someone near me moved, I think, there was a rustle of garment, and then the air rushed in around me. Somehow I was standing at the edge of a huge field. There were flowers everywhere, all of them straining to impress me. Once I was on a road and discovered it was leading me to some town. So I turned around and went back the way I had come. When the places began to look familiar I turned around again and proceeded as before. How I ceased doing this and ended here I cannot say. Now it has come time for the annual banquet. They will have to do without us. Let the tables be heaped high with fruits and blossoms. Let the revelers be merry and the spirits warm. Let good fellowship abound, and little children climb up into the arms of strangers. Let the wind spin in circles like happy dogs, and happy dogs look on from lush places in the grass. Let the sun bloom in each of the tiny silver spoons, and the forks, let them fracture the sun. Let the fragments of smiles spill everywhere like glittering coins. Let the night come down tenderly like lovers. ...


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