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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

The forklift grips the luggage and lifts it out of the plane's baggage compartment. A suitcase, a suitcase, a casket. The flag that once draped the casket has fallen off. Flagless, the casket is placed in the back of a truck to be driven to a warehouse in the cargo area. The dead soldier's family can claim it there. With any luck, they'll find another flag. Meanwhile, in a news story she read last summer, a man was shot dead by police as he attacked his mother with a fork. Our government vows it will change all this.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.