It all starts with the weather. Comes a day when summer…
In other years I watched the sky for birds
flying south in formation.
This year they pass in unbroken lines through my sleep,
driven down on machine wings.
I know the voice you use
for telling children not to fear
every droning sound
that scatters their play like shrapnel or shattered
ice across asphalt; every approach sends them
into piles of limbs under trucks,
sends the youngest under your breasts
that ache like the unmilked she-goat bleating somewhere,
ache with the waiting.
Every child has waited for death angels: I
listened at night for the Russians, who would
know our little town
by its twin water towers.
Someone, believe this, painted the towers black
hoping to save us.
And even now, fear is a night-time animal,
winged engines pulsing and the drone
of my mother praying
in the bed before she died.
No one slipped through a lake of night sky
in search of our secret towers.
No one. I know this now, but some believed
and believing still, prepare the massacre.