Epitaph: A poem

paper crane
Arianna Ninh/Staff

There was a flash of light and the sound of burning

The burning has a sound it sounds like

Cries for mother or for water or like

Bodies becoming abstract figures of color

Stretched by gravity, fumbling for their skin— bodies we turn away from.

Sounds like a place where the children are all gone there are

Children here, but the child is gone

Like evening came early in a fall of black vengeance

Like hundreds, thousands of pieces of shattered glass—

To cut the hands to feed the lungs to flood our ears

to fill the sky with wreckage.

We clutch our skin, reach for hope from our ankles,

We close our eyes, pray for water, pray for answers,

We keep our fear in a silent place — we run.


There was a flash of light and the sound of burning

So I cradled your story in my nook of my elbow as if it was an infant.

I tried to find my answers, but I could not place a promise

Could not find our solace—

I still don’t have a cure.

What I have is a string of birds and an open hand

I have a beating heart I have your hand


Contact Sarena Kuhn at [email protected].

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