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from "Ozone Journal" Bach's cantata in B-flat minor in the cassette, we lounged under the greenhouse-sky, the UVBs hacking at the acids and oxides and then I could hear the difference between an oboe and a bassoon at the river's edge under cover - trees breathed in our respiration; there was something on the other side of the river, something both of us were itching toward - radical bonds were broken, history became science. We were never the same. The title poem of Peter Balakian's Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker's memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009. These memories spark others - the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS - creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience.



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