In the dark, a woman traces the body
of her son the way she traces the map
of scars that adorns her body. It is night
in their village. Outside, the branches
of trees fall like men on the battlefield.
There is a sound rising into the air like
the voices of those about to be murdered.
A sound that carries with it the cries
of women buried beneath the bloodied
soil of this land. Somewhere a woman
placates her child to sleep, says tomorrow
you will wake up to a sky with stars.
In a room, a man teaches his son how
to outpace bullets whenever he goes to
the streets to play. There is silence
lingering in rooms abandoned by those
who stay awake tonight in a refugee camp.
There is a man nursing a
moribund woman in a room filled
with the dread of war. The woman
is dying, like her land. The woman
knows the etymology of grief,
the origin of sorrow that silences
her lips as she stares into the air.
In the sky there are clouds revealing
the gloom that veils the days ahead.
There are no birds to sing of the
dead, for those who shovel the
earth tonight to bury the remains
of their loved ones.
There is a door opening in the dark.
The hand that opens the door is the
hand that reaches for mercy. The hand
that resembles the hand of a woman
scraping the earth, digging from the
soil the remains of her child. Here in
this village the number of dead children
surpasses the number of old people.
A child watches a building become
ruins. His eyes flinch, his eyes darken
like the sky on nights of siege.
Tonight, the streets are bereft of feet.
There is silence piercing like a knife,
a knife reeking of a child’s
blood. It is a night of siege, a woman
says to her child as she blankets her