In your Northern Bronx home, set against

The room with the crimson carpet and plastic

Covered furniture, you play with me, and recall

Memories of how for a year you wore

Black for your mother then, after a year, after a month, repeated

Modeling darkness when your brother, too,

Flew to the angels, who come two and take pairs in few.

Two ages—six and five—the height of childhood, yet

Were sad, and wore black all the time.

You talk of this, followed by your father’s remarriage, and how

The baleful men from Germany, the villains of the Axis

Invaded your town on the island where you lived, yet

Another invasion on a land that saw nothing but

Hundreds upon thousands of conquers and wars.

And when this happened you hid, with your brothers and

Sisters, too—disguising yourselves as sheep among

The wool, before fleeing to a cave, surely dark enough to hide,

While searching for your stepmother’s touch, and lie

Against a shadow, to hug you goodnight, only twas not

Her, but a stranger, who tossed you off her side,

And you left, with a sigh. Now I see your demeanor

Change as multiples of happiness grace your face

As you talk of the children you’ve had— three,

Before turning to a look of gloom as you

Remember and recall—four.

Oh grandmother, oh matriarch, oh Nonnina!—how I wish

I could go back in time, and hope to see you, to hear

These stories again. How the little girl who grew up longs

To hear more, but I can’t—I, too, have memories of

Nothing but darkness and black, ever since you, yourself, have

Been flying with angels for five years.

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Samantha Henry

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