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War Blackout

Mama hunched over us with spread arms
the way an eagle would stretch its wings
to protect its eggs.
We knelt in our living room,
waiting for careening bombs our mom
predicted with her terrified face,
shallow breathing, rivulets of sweat
dropping from her face,
collecting in her collar bone.
To her, this blackout was a sign
of the madness of humans.
Humans, like ants, were (and would always be)
the only creatures she felt capable
of annihilating their own kind.
That evening, the minutes elongated with doom
while we cringed in our mother’s vision,
we didn’t dare to peek at the sky
where we might glimpse
a mud pit, a ditch, an abyss
instead of the stars.

  Austin Alexis