• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 04
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Of Them and Us

Some things are not easy to understand.
Like, Them. Or Us. We mimic balls
on strings, bouncing every direction.
Forward. Back. We jab at words.
A look. Eyes, steely, certain. Pinioned.
We're hardcore with dried opinions.

That morning she heard a woodcock call,
soft and distant, a low-pitched murmur.
The air was shining silver. Seemed alive.
Springy. She felt light as bright leaves,
and sure of herself — sure that life
was more than her shadow or a twitch.

She swept rouge across her cheeks,
drew an inquisitive curve on her brows,
and then tossed herself a secret smile.
Made the sign of the cross, and walked
outside into a flowing stream of women
marching with undeterred footsteps.

She nodded to the woman next to her.
Black hair hung straight and damp
as if soaked by sky and rain. So pale,
and her lips a strange thin red line.
The woman nodded back. They joined
hands, like tumbling water on a ledge,


Of Them and Us

and those women marched straight at
deep blackened silence. Toward men
holding truncheons, wearing helmets,
arms tight and angry, sharp-cut faces
with a dead man’s stare. The police.
Those panthers playing with kittens.

And then she saw him. Felt panic
squeezing her like the drawing
of a veil. She drew a sharp breath.
Remembered the woodcock’s call.
Remembered her youth. Her loves.
Life’s magic. Its too often sudden end.

She stood before him, a lone flower
in the grass. Stared at his truncheon,
and into his dark, narrowed eyes.
Her voice was strong, “Hello, son.”
He stared at her, “Mum, for the love
of god, go home before you’re hurt.”