The soldier who kills for fun can laugh at

anything, but the man who was robbed of his laughter

by the killing searches for it everywhere. Sometimes

he encounters the shipping create in his basement and

says, “I should have thrown this away long ago,” and

pries open the lid. He sorts through the socks,

underwear, camouflaged boots, medallions, propaganda

leaflets and a pearl handed Bowie knife inscribed with

his name and “4th of the 9th Infantry, Manchu.” “I

should have thrown this away long ago,” he says again,

trying to feel how it was the day after first grade,

slamming the metal wheels of his skates to the sidewalk,

the wind lifting him up by the hair, and laughing,

laughing, laughing. But his voice only circles the

barrel of his throat, his laughter mute as army green,

course as a kettledrum.


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