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The body is an amplifier.
This intensity, this buildup of noise
This contusion, concussion, this
reverberation of the heart, this static
of the mind this woman in a crowded
subway clutching her baby today, saying
directly to the television camera help us, help us,
you must help us. This intensity, this buildup
of noise—Help us! —an echo of an old human
refrain through the mad and fucked up timbres
of our human history. Those in Sarajevo,
in Rwanda, in Germany and Bangladesh,
those dying on the Trail of Tears
and shivering under bridges in our city.
All wars are waged against children,
I read today on someone’s twitter feed.
Help us, help us. My body jangles loud,
electrified by all the voices rising through the
smoke, debris, the marching in the
streets, the sirens caterwaul, the crack
of cop’s batons, the sniper’s guns,
the helicopters slicing overhead.
There is no armor left, no helmets
to go around, no chainmail, shields,
or swords. Such huddling in the underground!
The body is a snail without a shell.
Vulnerable, the reverb of the heart turned up,
such pounding noise, the ache of bones, the wounds
that will not heal and open time and time
again. The body wants quiet, to turn it off.
No. The body wants three things:
to live, to thrive, to see another day.
Copyright 2022 Sharon Fagan McDermott