Crossed

By: Ally Condie

for Ian

who looked up

and started to climb





Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

by DYLAN THOMAS




Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.





Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.





Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.





Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.





Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.





And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.





Crossing the Bar

by ALFRED LORD TENNYSON




Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea.





But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.





Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;





For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar.





CHAPTER 1

KY





I’m standing in a river. It’s blue. Dark blue. Reflecting the color of the evening sky.

I don’t move. The river does. It pushes against me and hisses through the grass at the water’s edge. “Get out of there,” the Officer says. He shines his flashlight on us from his position on the bank.

“You said to put the body in the water,” I say, choosing to misunderstand the Officer.

“I didn’t say you had to get in yourself,” the Officer says. “Let go and get out. And bring his coat. He doesn’t need it now.”

I glance up at Vick, who helps me with the body. Vick doesn’t step into the water. He’s not from around here, but everyone in camp knows the rumors about the poisoned rivers in the Outer Provinces.

“It’s all right,” I tell Vick quietly. The Officers and Officials want us to be scared of this river—of all rivers—so that we never try to drink from them and never try to cross over.

“Don’t you want a tissue sample?” I call out to the Officer on the bank while Vick hesitates. The icy water reaches my knees, and the dead boy’s head lolls back, his open eyes staring at the sky. The dead don’t see but I do.

I see too many things. I always have. Words and pictures connect together in my mind in strange ways and I notice details wherever I am. Like now. Vick’s no coward but fear films his face. The dead boy’s sleeves are frayed with threads that catch the water where his arm dangles down. His thin ankles and bare feet glow pale in Vick’s hands as Vick steps closer to the bank. The Officer already had us take the boots from the body. Now he swings them back and forth by the laces, a sweep of black keeping time. With his other hand he points the round beam of the flashlight right into my eyes.

I throw the coat to the Officer. He has to drop the boots to catch it. “You can let go,” I tell Vick. “He’s not heavy. I can take care of it.”

But Vick steps in, too. Now the dead boy’s legs are wet and his black plainclothes sodden. “It’s not much of a Final Banquet,” Vick calls out to the Officer. There’s anger in Vick’s voice. “Was that dinner last night something he chose? If it was, he deserves to be dead.”

It’s been so long since I’ve let myself feel anger that I don’t just feel it. It covers my mouth and I swallow it down, the taste sharp and metal as though I’m gnawing through foilware. This boy died because the Officers judged wrong. They didn’t give him enough water and now he’s dead too soon.

We have to hide the body because we’re not supposed to die in this holding camp. We’re supposed to wait until they send us out to the villages so the Enemy can take care of us there. It doesn’t always work that way.

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