short story    
photo of Chris Adrian   Every Night for a Thousand Years

He dreamed his brother's death at Fredericksburg. General Burnside appeared as an angel at the foot of his bed to announce the tragedy: "The Army regrets to inform you that your brother George Washington Whitman was shot in the head by a lewd fellow from Charleston." The General alit on the bedpost and drew his dark wings close about him, as if to console himself. Moonlight limned his strange whiskers and his hair. His voice shook as he went on. "Such a beautiful boy. I held him in my arms while his life bled out. See? His blood made this spot." He pointed at his breast, where a dark stain in the shape of a bird lay on the blue wool. "I am so very sorry," he said, choking and weeping. Tears fell in streams from his eyes, ran over the bed and out the window, where they joined the Rappahannock, which had somehow come north to flow through Brooklyn, bearing the bodies of all the battle's dead.


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    Copyright © 2000 by Chris Adrian. Originally published in The New Yorker