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I could return to the mountain
After twenty five years
See the green in the trees
And the new brick veneers

And stand in the places
Where we once crouched in fear
And eat muffins and sandwiches
And drink the free beer

And I could not recognize
Anyone in the room
And they could say I am x and this is y
And who R U?

And I could feign a familiar smile and say
That in all these long years
Their eyes hadn't changed

But we
Would not
Every road sign that numbers its name
Returns the smells
Of those euphoric cinders
That rode into town
Danced with our women
Smacked the children around
And strung up each man
Who dared to be proud
Then left in their wake
A silent ashen veil

I could wear the name tag
And listen to the speeches
About spirit and rebirth
And see award-winning pictures

And I could pose in a photograph
For the local news
Everybody grimacing
And shifting in their shoes

A survivor is a creature
Who didn't get to choose
The world that fell before them
And screamed what should I do

So thank-you for your letter
I will pass the mountain by
But if you happen to find Rebecca
Tell her I said hi

~ Brendan Bonsack

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