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Gettysburg Review
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“What I Know of Fire”

by Robert Coker Johnson

I remember the smell of cigarettes, my mother’s hands cool against my face, and I would come back to the room, the rough sheets, the other children bleating in the ward. I lived on shots. They fed me through the nose. Sometimes a nurse brought a bottle of distilled water with an aluminum shaker top like my mother used when she ironed clothes. The water was room temperature, but when the nurse peeled the gauze from my legs—I was always on my stomach—and sprinkled water on my wounds, it burned like ice, as though I were still on fire.

“The Compasses”

by Albert Goldbarth

If the past will be seen to validate a current national image
of grandiosity, then the state will subsidize scholarly
archeological expeditions, historical research, manuscript
codecracking. And if not, then not. This is the earliest
formulation of how the state and the softer sciences
interrelate. . . .

“Angel in a Window”

by Nancy Willard

Night has fallen in Gethsemane so fast
it bruises the lilies of the field.
Over the altar, the angel

in tailored moss and russet wings
hovers above the acolyte . . .

“The Prodigal Daughter”

by Dorothy Barresi

If a daughter bent on pleasing
turns her knives
inward, then the salad plate goes

to the left of the glassware, . . .

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