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Somewhere, there is a child
awake at 3 a.m.
listening to the wind.
It feels perceptibly different
from the breezes of home:
less kind, more rough,
and hard, like metal.
He tries to make out
a morsel of sky where
the ceiling and walls
are absent,
across the curled up forms
of his big sister, his father,
his uncle, his school teacher,
and scores upon scores
of others, not quite strangers,
including the parents
who buried their baby girl
the other day and still
haven’t taken down
the empty hammock,
crooked rows of broken souls
on the cold concrete,
not quite asleep,
wary of that metallic wind.

Somewhere, there is a child
not understanding.

He doesn’t have the right words
but he wonders
why they left home,
how home changed to this place,
and what happened to
waking up every morning
to go to school.
He liked school.
He supposes it’s all over
and this is his life now,
grief without grieving,
waiting for nothing.

He cannot form the questions,
but if he did, his elders
would probably be
too tired to lie to him.
They would probably
remind him that
their lives are in danger,
that the men with scary guns
and shoes caked with mud
have taken the village
and are not giving it back.

It’s probably better that
he doesn’t ask,
but there is no way
for him to know that.
All he knows is
he is hungry and scared
and unhappy and cold
and he understands nothing
and he can’t sleep
on account of the mosquitoes
and the metal in the wind.

Image Source (photographer unknown)


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