Ellen Palmer
November 2010

There is a woman in this village
who lost her son to a bomb,
lost him
—not like the bumper sticker—
she knew exactly where and who he was.
She lost her husband
to a tank,
and her granddaughter
to a drone.

Now she insists on wearing slippers,
and will tolerate
only library-muffled, worn clothes.
If you come over,
she will serve you quiet foods
you eat with your fingers,
for dessert—ice cream.
She cannot understand anything
said to her above a whisper.
For sanity's sake,
she came to this decision
to only let some things in.
If you try to talk to her in a normal tone,
she will only shrug,
shake her head no.

She will say,
if asked,
that anywhere trees fall,
they scream.

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