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Contents Page: July 1, 2011, vol 7 no 2

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Bruce Ross


A Man Stands

Far too many miles on a busy holiday weekend visiting relatives' graves with my brothers. We find an uncle on a memorial to those who served in World War II and then his grave beside his parents' graves, his father dying two years into the war, perhaps of grief for his young son. Across the border a cousin has found a recording of the uncle his mother had saved and converted it to CD. Mile after humid mile with little sleep we agree upon music. But one brother suggests we listen to the CD, a report of the effects of the Battle of Stalingrad just after it occurred. I remember sitting on this uncle's knee as a very young child and reaching for his dangling keys. This uncle died young, before I became a teenager. The crisp voice more a ghost than a voice left me empty and ill at ease, not unlike the Australian aboriginals who will not speak the name or view a photo of someone who has died. We stop at the crowded rest area just before Boston, so crowded we have to pause often not to bump into someone. It took me a second look to register an island of stillness and the somehow familiar music.

Memorial Day
a man stands at attention
to recorded taps


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