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Nomi Stone reads her poem, "The Soldier Takes the Anthropologist to the Shooting Range".

Nomi Stone:

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Hi.  I'm Nomi Stone.  I'll be reading my poem "The Soldier Takes the Anthropologist to the Shooting Range" and this poem is from my new book Kill Class and it is based on my field work as an anthropologist in mock Middle Eastern villages around America, constructed for the military to train in.

The Soldier Takes the Anthropologist to the Shooting Range

After shooting, we go to the buffet, and there is so much meat: chicken and fat and cuts
of hog, then banana pudding with crumbled cookies.  We eat so much it is awful, 

What do I want with this place?  
I've got a candle in me.  It won't quit.  

Later we walk through his tomatoes, lush and stemmy.  There's one fruit, green.  
I came again and why?  To be next to it, whatever "it" is and not die?  You look
for the dark, Billy says, in things.  

The wick is lit
like a gun.  

The targets, once birds: changed into silhouettes with red kill-spots, heart-
shots.  Billy knows what it (he) does and did / the hole in the throat / the eyes
so surprised.  

If you hold it wrong,
it will bite your thumb.

He presses my back.  It goes when I press.  I jump when it goes.  The round
so splits her: nerves / root / where to take over, in this field of copper teeth?

Don't shoot so high.
You're aiming at God.  

Then, I went in.  Did I know what I did?  It rang with a ping.  Bullseye, red as a torch.
He threw up his arms.  I was I.  It was done.