The structure of matter,: By Francis Owen Rice and Edward by Francis Owen Rice, Edward Teller

By Francis Owen Rice, Edward Teller

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Page 39 Macho Crawling between mesquite and cactus, I hold my rifle low so the sun won't strike it. Downwind from the only buck I've seen in weeks, I rise up slowly for a shot, hoping the hawks won't spook him. But he's gone, hiding in brush or leaping down steep arroyos.  Could it be swamp gas, boots, perpetual stutter? Or the rich man's tongue in torment with only the moon's eclipse like a finger dipped in water to cool it? More like a man after all?  Let them lap cold milk from a carton. That's the last cow I'll let our children beg and raise as a heifer.

Fist on my head, he steadied the stock and pointed.  I could count the times that gun went off, explosions rare as thunder. Neighbors miles away kept score, no doubt, another of Oscar's quarters wasted.  My palms easily heft it, like guessing the weight of a gift wrapped to mail, no forwarding address, no way to send it. Page 58 Black Granite Burns Like Ice Watching the world from above, all fallen friends applaud in blisters on our backs. Wherever I go, there's fire. My dreams are napalm. I've been to the wall and placed my fingers on their names.

My dreams are napalm. I've been to the wall and placed my fingers on their names.  Sad music's on my mind, a war on every channel. After the madness of Saigon I flew back through San Francisco to the plains, flat fields with cactus and the ghosts of rattlers. I feed the hawks field mice and rabbits. I'm no Saint Francis but even the buzzards circle, hoping whatever I own keeps dying.  After dark we rock on the porch and watch the stars, wondering how many owls dive at night per acre, how many snakes per grandchild, how many wars before all dreams are fire.

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