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The American poet Henry Rifle is dead. You could remember him as the guy who fell in a hail of bullets launched his way by a Mexican firing squad. Or you could remember him for his poems and the charitable work he liked to tell people he did. Undoubtedly, he would prefer the latter. He might especially appreciate it if you remembered him for his last collection of poems — Ballistics Report. Were he here, he would tell you that was probably the closest he ever got to capturing the truth as he knew it. It contains everything: the humor, the heartbreak, the passion, the pathos; the unique perspective that almost made him famous. Henry Rifle liked to say ‘It’s always what you thought, but never what you think.’ What he meant was that the clues are generally there for the mystery to be solved, but we usually don’t see that until after the police have arrived, and it’s too late to do more than wring our hands and bemoan the fact we didn’t connect the dots quicker. Henry Rifle connected those dots. And even though it’s too late for him, you might benefit from the twisted picture he put together.

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