Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Angele Ellis: My sister’s bones

keep breaking.

A midnight cough sharp as a rifle shot

cracks a rib.


Hefting a hissing tomcat by its scruff

shears a wrist.

It’s not only skin that consents


to remember

through the slash and pucker of scars.

Her scan


is a threaded black record of damages

a keffiyeh

knit from the marrow of our history.


More Arab

than I am according to our parsed DNA

her flesh


turns green against a blue blanket.

I think

she has a hole in her neck, a fatal bullet wound,



by the photo of an American boy killed in Israel.

They say


he was just a Palestinian with a U.S. passport.


trickling down my sister’s arms reminds me of the dust


that shrouded

Dina, her young Gazan doppelgänger, as if on the day

my sister


persuaded my brother to run away from home

those bombs

rained down on them, not a childish cloudburst


of tears.

As if now her body has become a battlefield

her bones


collapsing like sticks and stones in front of a tank

that won’t stop

that crushes the oranges hidden in her pockets


to pulp

leaving her only a husk, a dripping acid stain.


Copyright 2017 Angele Ellis. A version of this poem appeared in Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh, with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery Press, 2016). 

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , .

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