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Either way, it just goes on

“He saw the sand going on and on across the continent. The broken palm trees and mud buildings and corrugated steel lean-tos and dead trucks and the domes and spires of the mosques. He could hear the loudspeakers wired by a man who weighed twenty pounds less and looked twenty years older and who was the same age as he was, a goat herder with missing fingers. He heard the static and the ram’s horn and the voices as they spoke together, wearing robes the same color as the landscape, kneeling together, rising together, chanting together. He could see them as if he were watching them through binoculars and the Arabian dusk was coming down. He saw the dim blue sky and smelled the sunbaked human waste and saw the dark forms of his many friends, their gear, their white eyes and very occasional smiles. He tasted the smell of burning tires, hashish, gun oil, animals, coal fire, chicken and rice and Tabasco sauce. The weight of the gear. The tearing down of the body. All the things you complained about. And the thing that was greater—the war itself. It was the one thing. You went outside the wire, and each time, either you died or you did not.” – Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life

Published inAtticus LishLit & CritThe Forever War

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