22 April 1999
He sits in the window and tells his mother every time he sees the planes. Whenever they fly near the cottage he will run to the kitchen table and crawl underneath the table. His mother has tried to reassure him with reassuring phrases like "pinpoint accuracy." Except he has taken this to mean that they are bombing pins, and he has taken all the pins from the house and taken them into the woods. And when he sits too long in the window and stands up his legs will tingle because he has pins-and-needles and he will run around the house until the sensation subsides.

Meanwhile his mother is collecting food for the journey, and sorting out certain important papers and family heirlooms for the journey. The future is terrible and uncertain and she is finishing the wine and trying not to break down as she prepares for the journey. The train has been bombed, they will not travel by train, there are only a few bridges and they are guarded by soldiers.

She neither expects nor wants the child to understand. It is ununderstandable. The bombs are so loud and bright and powerful and frightening to him, even when miles away. He crouches beneath the table squeezing his head  between his knees to protect his new ears.

Now she is out back laying the last of the flowers on her husband's grave. And there are planes approaching. The child shouts for her and disappears to go underneath the table where he thinks the bombs with their pinpoint accuracy cannot see him.

And she is straightening up, as the planes approach, and she is looking at these strange flying insects piloted by men who want to ease the suffering of her people, and she wonders if they will kill her this time. And, given everything, she would rather that she and her child die here quickly in fire dropped by men she does not see.


Newspoetry at Spineless Books