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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
	American Beauty
      	Heather Long
      
     	The most perfect was pressed
      	between parchment pages of Horatio
      	Nelson and The Naval Supremacy of England, unseen,
      	unheld, since its trip to the attic in 1969, the year
      	Jon Benjamin returned from Vietnam.
      	
      	Wild roses along the Susquehanna suffer
      	greatly by horticultural comparison to American
      	Beauty, though their capacity as tokens of childhood
      	memory remains just as real. Unlike Nelson, it wasn't possible
      	to trace Jon Benjamin's life through a botany of flowery phrases.
      	
      	No bewitching Lady Hamilton imparted an element
      	of romance; no Battle of the Nile marked a triumphant
      	achievement; no Trafalgar sealed his place in his country's
      	history. Alive was what we asked for, selling short
      	even our simplest prayers. Neither a thousand ounces
      	of silver, nor a hero's welcome, would have improved
      	the roses -- or the look of a nation's betrayal in his eyes.
      
      	 1999 Heather Long

Vietnam Memorial with rose
Vietnam Veteran at the Vietnam Memorial Wall -
Alessandro della Valle

Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
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About the Poets
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