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They Keep Dropping Bombs on Civilians
On my bed I lie and rest my hands on my chest. I think about my kids chasing each other on the playground, how they go round and round on the merry-go-round, then they roll on the grass and pretend they are asleep. My mind flashes to that baby covered in dust, faced down on the floor of a maternity hospital in Mariupol. Planes sprint across the sky with bombs raining down. Shattered glass, torn walls, blood, and weeping mothers. Like a child, I squeeze my eyes and shake my head. Like an American, I send thoughts & prayers. I roll to one side of the bed, press my body against the wall, and wait. The doorbell rings. My neighbor’s daughter is selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Hurting for Nick I wake up overwhelmed with love. Time slows. I hear each beating of the wings on a hummingbird. I teach my daughter how to ride a bike. A boy plays catch with his golden retriever. A father awaits news about family left behind in Ukraine. A friend holds his wife’s hands in a hospital room. Another friend has killed himself before COVID could get the best of him. The poet comes home too exhausted after a graveyard shift at a university hospital. Up ahead of me bright yellow honeysuckle dance in the hot summer wind. A family of deer crosses the bike path. The mother gallops guardedly, tail up. Her three fawns hop, skip, bounce across my view to the brook below. -- Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of Gruel, And So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It (Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (a chapbook with Joanna C. Valente, Yes Poetry). He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.