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The Casualties of War
Poetry by Jennifer Schaupp

He says he’ll dial my private line
‘cause his birthday and mine are joined
together in the numbers.

I say, Don’t bother.

We stand near his chicken-pox-colored car
with the pictures of naked models
on the driver’s-side door, and he chatters
like a child about the military,
boot camp and the battle that never began.
His hair is mold starting to form
on a nectarine; he wants me to touch,
but I’ve just had my nails done.

I look up at the second-story window
of the building nearby; a man
with curly hair and a tight,
black T-shirt waves. I wave back.

Do you know him? he asks,
but I’m watching the man expose
his brawny chest and make a sexy
“O” with his mouth.

Do you know him? he shouts
with a fierceness that I only heard once,
at M when the bouncer slipped
his number inside my skirt pocket.

Why do you have naked women
on your car?
I ask, still gazing
at the window that’s now empty.

I’ll take them off, he says. For you.

Don’t bother, I say.

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