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16 the minnesota review Rebecca Warner Model Numbers Instead of pillow talk it's stereo equipment, my boyfriend rattling off numbers like sweet nothings. The new Sony XL3700 or whatever, Infinity 5000 speakers have the biggest woofers. The bigger the number, the higher the performance, he actually believes this. I tell him it's arbitrary, these numbers designed for men obsessed with penis size. He has to one-up the guy next door with the maximum performance of his tweeters, play his stereo louder since his amp goes to eleven. Sometimes I almost believe in the significance of numbers—me for whom words mean everything. I start to think "forever" pales against the adding up of years, I'm amazed he's home by six the way he promises. (I was only nine when my father traded in my mother for a new model.) For my boyfriend, numbers always meant his brothers could out-do him with the fastest running score, best time on swim team. My own goal, to be the least ugly future wife to meet his family, maybe not a perfect ten—I'm not the model type. I don't even know my measurements: for a bridesmaid dress I had to ask a friend to estimate my waist. On the TV remake "Kids Say the Darndest Things," a little boy was asked to name proportions for the perfect date. Twenty-four/thirty-six/twenty-four, he said, shaping the air into an hourglass. It took the audience a while to get the joke. Wamer 17 Atomic Love Wartime makes it hard to love you. Tissues turn to missiles in your hands, fountain pens bleed blood. You bear the brute burden for all men, though it's not your fault your father's Y knocked up X and had to marry in the shadow of a shotgun. Our bed's a foxhole, no one's an atheist. You curl around me like a shell outside a trembling nucleus, while I dream of babies falling from the sky like bombs, children we name Little Boy, Fat Man. ...


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