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Mail Call

 The letters always just evade the hand
One skates like a stone into a beam, falls like a bird.
Surely the past from which the letters rise Is waiting in the future, past the graves? The soldiers are all haunted by their lives.
Their claims upon their kind are paid in paper That established a presence, like a smell.
In letters and in dreams they see the world.
They are waiting: and the years contract To an empty hand, to one unuttered sound -- The soldier simply wishes for his name.

by Randall Jarrell
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