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What pride I feel in America stems from our anthem

being the toughest one to sing. The high segment

with the red burn of the rocket: only a few

can reach. Watching a stranger parallel park, I pray

she abrades her neighbor. Watching football, I need

to see a man die. I need to see the intractable passing

and violence. Of the cruelty ringing the Earth,

I am a portion. I never said he was a bad man, only

a larger portion. He wreaked harm on us for years

and then one day he began to die. I watched as science

shattered his body to wrest the disease out, stopping

just short of his failure. Failure, the word

he favored over death. Me, I favored nothing over

death. I held him like a brother. I knew him as an error

of God, dropped at the doorstep of our age, and what

could we do but save him? I began to suspect so many

of machinations. How my parents had summoned me

into this world, but then when I arrived,

they were not here. My whole being was a set-up.

They called me over to sit alone with the weather

and soot, unfettered. They said I had differences to be

resolved. After attempting the anthem, upwards of fifty

percent remark, I should have started lower or I should

have chosen something else instead. Uneasy lies the head.

Passing and Violence

Natalie Shapero

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translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Różycki