Shrapnel Looking For Laughter

The house has been bombed. Everyone dead:

The kids, the parents, the toys, the actors on TV,

characters in novels, personas in poetry collections,

the I, the he and the she. No pronouns left. Not even

for the kids when they learn parts of speech

next year. Shrapnel flies in the dark,

looks for the family’s peals of

laughter hiding behind piles of disfigured

walls and bleeding picture frames. The radio

no longer speaks. Its batteries have burnt,

the antenna is broken.

Even the broadcaster felt the pain when the radio

was hit. Even we, hearing the bomb

as it fell, threw ourselves

to the ground,

each of us counting the others around them.

We were safe, but our hearts

still ache.

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