Somewhere in the Middle East After One War Ended
by Shirani Rajapakse
Child in the classroom unable|
to speak. Staring at the space in front
silent to the teachers urging.
Mouth refusing to shape
words that don't come out, they died,
crumbled to dust and got lost
in the sands swirling not so very long ago.
What thoughts hold her back afraid
to open lips that might howl out secrets
best left hidden amidst the ruins
piled up like garbage?
Numb to the people, deaf
to the voices moving around, she hears
strange noises in her mind
deafening the songs
trying to rise up from a corner where
she stored them for safe keeping,
to make her smile.
Gunshots in the street,
the heavy fire of machine guns in
the dark of the night, a river
nonstop taking with it the trees
uprooted, buildings collapsed.
Flares lighting up the
sky as she hid under
the bed seeing neon signs flash across
the sky through a hole in the roof
that brought in the sun during the day,
hot and burning, like the sting of the bullet
in her mother's chest.
The guns are silenced for the moment,
only the distant low hum of
sporadic fire in some other town
not so far away.
People walk the streets unafraid, go about
their work like
nothing ever happened.
The past erased.
Yet the guns inside
her head continue to fire volley after volley
as she struggles to live each day.
Copyright © 2019 - Shirani Rajapakse
Published: 4/11/19 · Author's Page · Next Poem