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Shane Book

Shane Book

Shane Book is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His honors include a New York Times Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a National Magazine Award. He is currently directing a film based on his first poetry collection, Ceiling of Sticks, which won the 2009 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press.

Uganda, 1997

She stands pigeon-toed in too-large
plastic sandals, her Sunday dress
white with orange ruffles, mouth a simple line,
gold studs in tiny ears, close cut hair,
a slight welling in her eyes. Arms motionless
at her sides, she does not hide the stump ends,
the burnt meat's wrinkled dark—where
the soldiers cauterized her wounds.
As they'd been taught, they tried to
make the cuts just above the wrists. But
amphetamines had them shaky; the girl
kept moving her arms. She is eight years old;
the soldiers four years older. They fight
for an army named The Lord's Resistance.
When the cuts are made above the elbow
the soldiers call it "short sleeves."

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