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I found Rueben's brother on the black wall; four panels to the left; twenty names from the concrete:

Rueben's brother drove a red 1963 Impala black topped convertible; his hair never misplaced by the wind, glowing cigarette in his mouth. He was an American icon, hard pack rolled in his sleeve, a James Dean collar, veins pounding on his tight biceps. He smirked like Elvis, and always used the word "cool."

Rueben's brother laughed at his teachers' lectures on the inscriptions on his book covers regarding his potential if he finished school, and the promise of the American Dream. "Ain't nobody gonna make me president," Rueben's brother would sneer in response to their shaking heads.

Rueben's brother got his invitation from the president, put on the green clothes and went in country.

One afternoon during art, while making Christmas wreaths from newspapers and hangars, the principal, his blonde arms bristling, came in with a note and called Rueben out; go home to momma, he said, your brother's coming home early; we grew silent as Rueben read the note and ran out; we could see him running down Adams Street as we twisted the paper on the bent wire.

Rueben's mother sold the Impala for 500 dollars; the new owner painted it green.

  • David E. Cowen

  • Originally Published in Wired Hearts Online Magazine

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