How to describe history´s grotesque
face, still half-hidden under a mask
of deceit? In some countries, hide
and seek isn´t a game. In some homes,
the bodies curled inside closets no longer
contain enough space for laughter.
I want to nourish my children,
and also, I want them to hear the gnarl
of a not-so-distant hunger as they ravage
their pile of snacks. Tell me, what
greater joy than watching your daughter
blow out her birthday candles? How
the flames are quelled in a single
wish without ever searing her skin.
Don’t think about it, they say. As if
our playgrounds weren´t haunted.
Voices encircled by a battalion
of bloodied dreams. The swings
heavy. The wind pushing them
side to side, shapeless. Just because
we turn off the television doesn´t mean
bombs aren´t falling on schools
and theaters. No matter how dazzlingly
our children dance in their spring concert,
missiles will continue blazing through
the bellies of maternity wards.
A family lies at the foot of the bridge
they almost crossed. Next to their open
suitcases. Next to a bright pink bunny,
squashed beneath the rubble.
Explosion after explosion, and we don´t
turn away. Look, I say. I need them
to know what may come next.
Julie Weiss (she/her) is the author of The Places We Empty, her debut collection published by Kelsay Books. She was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s First Line Poetry Series, has been named a finalist for the 2022 Saguaro Poetry Prize, and she was shortlisted for Kissing Dynamite´s 2021 Microchap Series. A two-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her recent work appears in Sheila-Na-Gig, Orange Blossom Review, ONE ART: a journal of poetry, and others. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children.