Jacob Lawrence, "Soldiers and Students," 1962
Jacob Lawrence, Soldiers and Students (1962)
Can a Game Be Literature?

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February 27, 2003:

She's not sure she knows her birthday.

Her passport says April 8, but that's the date her father got round to registering her with the authorities.

She once asked him, after leaving home, for the correct date, in order to consult an astrologer. On a tiny scrap of paper kept in "a special place," he'd recorded September 15 in minute Chinese characters. But, she's not sure if that might refer to one of her six sisters and brothers.

"You are not important. You will not go to college. Your brothers will go to college. Our work is for their futures. You will become the responsibility of your husband."

The patriarch, thin, balding, liver spots on scale-like skin, pasty from lack of sun. In the back of his shop by artificial light he works gold with skill, while in the front the women cater to customers.

After the students were shot down she fled, first to the jungle, later to America, where she landed in your bed with great hope and loneliness.

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