Little soldier boy

fled lions and tigers in his closet,

dropping pj’s in the sink.

Little toy girl slid up the next tree,

planted spit in the ground

from her little perch in the sky.

Daddy came home some,

Mama dwindled away,

and the midnights scattered into carrier pigeons

flying messages to all the cops and EMT,

all the saviors everywhere,

to hold nightmares

between their teeth each dawn,

quake through the day smiling

dousing sirens like flames.


What happens to us when we turn down the sirens going off in our souls?  When we’re screaming “Help, murder Police!” like the little girl in my Brownie troop, who when we went to pick her up to go Christmas caroling, was found on her front porch, screaming that mantra over and over like a chant.  Her father was inside dragging her mother–already wrapped in a body cast, probably from previous abuse–around the house by the hair. The next day there was nothing left of her but a stare. We try to save ourselves, but all we can do is pretend to be someone else–while the saviors in our minds put out the lights. But the sound is still reverberating, a Doppler effect, calling us home to ourselves.

© 2014 Andrea Mathews

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