Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Happened Yesterday in Baghdad

RBM's essay "What Happened Yesterday in Baghdad," presented last fall at the U.S. Air Force Academy's War, Literature, and the Arts conference, is soon to be out in print. An excerpt:
Once, when I was young and intent on becoming a Texas cattleman who also apprehended bandits, my parents commissioned a sepia portrait at the county fair. For about $25, families could select frontier costumes and stand inside a saloon as flashbulbs illuminated the scene. My mother, pictured wearing ostrich feathers and a broach, refused to distribute the photo the following Christmas on account of liquor bottles visible in the background. But the original has hung for years in our hallway. The visage of the boy at her side is somehow indelible: my pudgy, adolescent jowls expressionless beneath a top hat, one small hand gripping a cane, the other pocketing a revolver. I hadn’t examined it closely until recently. Then, late one August night, I saw what looked like the same boy online, in another portrait titled Great Times Together.
To read this essay in full and others from Teri Carter, Leila Levinson, and Joseph Bathanti, as well as fiction and poetry, you can access WLA 23 via Google Books.

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