Thursday, September 09, 2004


One of the two blond headed kids in the room
Can only speak to two boys
Or just a few words in Hebrew to her first grade classmates

She enjoys both recesses
Jumping of walls with the boys
There is an old blood stain on one of the rocks in the yard
They tell her that’s where a boy cracked his skull

The walk home from school is warm
Only a few blocks away
The hot pavement releases the smell of the leaves and the berries that fell
There is pitas and humus waiting for her

Her father gives her a gas-mask
And shows her how to put it on her small face
She runs to the mirror and laughs
She looks like a black, rubber bug

Her younger brother is excited
His mask makes him look like a fighter pilot
But her mask has a straw

Father lines the bottom of the bathroom door with something
And we play a game where we all go into the bathroom
Looking like bugs

The games were fun
She learned very quickly that her chin had to go in first

One night there were loud screaming voices
Of air sirens
She cried because they sounded like a ghost

So loud
Her parents gathered up things to pass the night
The red wagon rumbled on the pavement

There was a family on the second floor of the apartment complex
They had children too
Their baby girl was in a plastic crib with an air supply
Her mother couldn’t hold her
They spoke English

Momma brought out the coloring books
Her voice was muffled and sounded funny
The children played games
They had never been able to stay up this late
Momma was afraid of them falling asleep in the masks

They fell asleep anyway
She checked to see if we were still breathing every few minutes

The noise was gone
No loud voices

The children were hungry
And stiff from lying on the floor
So they were allowed to have sweet cereal
A precious treat.


At September 12, 2004 at 5:21 PM, Blogger sowrite said...

Your work is very powerful. It gives readers a glimpse into a world they are unfamiliar with and lets them feel it....


Post a Comment

<< Home