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Brooklyn 9/12

By Sara Kandler

We roam our Brooklyn streets

neighbors huddling

all of us ghosts

chat softly with our young son

gaping construction site

fat pigeon circling

while tiny papery fragments

fall from the bright

September sky

settling on our forearms

We blow at them

and wonder

fibers of a love note?

pencil shards?

a fingernail?

No choice

but to inhale

these ashes

the nuclear fallout

we’d only imagined

Radio voices tell us

this is not a war

between East and West

but we feel it so crushing

clash of cultures

sorrowful bequest

How to stay close

in this tsunami of distress?

At night our toddler

drifts off to sleep

nothing to do but

curl around him

our backs arched into

a bony heart

a cage

a brace

a frame

Nothing to say

no words

no lexicon

no name

for this disaster

this massacre

Leila saïda

my husband whispers in Arabic

good night

kisses our son’s doughy forehead

the quiet metronome

of his breathing

so soothing

then movement below

something shifting

landforms drifting


leila saïda

a soft spoken promise

draws the dunes of Fire Island

toward those of El Jadida

to form a modern day Pangea

and we dream

of another radiant morning

the ground trembles

then surges skyward

tall towers of stone

this time arcing

bonding the continents

finally, we’re home

*This poem first appeared in the poetry journal ONE ART.

Follow Sara on Medium: @sarakandler


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