Monday, May 27, 2024

27 May 2024


 I was with the girl pulled from the rubble   covered

in dust   shaking aftermath of hurricane without wind

and she was with me in my bed when half-awake

my powerlessness failed to shelter me like a sheet

I was powerless to feel powerless   afflicted by her

terror I reached to hug her and did    for the rest

of the night hold her body to my body    the teacher

said each of the tears she cried for her dead son

saved thousands of souls she’d never known  

despite the terror of five hours under broken cement

without parent or sibling    tears come between

her and her broken bed    water streaming down stairs

at the ballpark   waterfalls engorged after a week of rain

the sound of it to her was voices or nothing

the sound of bones inside her arms clattering

something to keep her awake in my bed with husband

and cat and dog (were we to let her) a safe puddle

to bathe in   my daughter’s first bath with me a bucket

she turned over her head in a tub overlooking Kathmandu

rising in antiquity to meet us as I watched her

caring for herself   grieving and yet happy

the dust ran off her tiny body as she stood

embraced by glass and light and dusted air

I wish for you a life small girl who shivers un-

controlled on my screen    pulled from the acid

of this war   developed like a photograph into

the obverse image   on my lanai dead palm fronds

the better to catch the sound of early rain

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