Where Mothers Hung the Clothes

Photo by Sea Wave

On a fall afternoon in my warm kitchen, I bake a frittata.
Fried onions, red potatoes, cream, cheddar, eggs
from the neighbor’s chickens.
Eggs of all sizes, shells of many colors.

Cracked open, the yolks float in clear stickiness,
umbilical-corded to white wisps
of unborn chicks. Mute.
How can I speak about this?

While I fatten on cream and eggs.
While a mother held hostage
waits to be executed. While bombs dismember
families penned in occupied land. Obliterate

the family goat, chickens foraging in the back yards.
While I sort soft laundry, fold over
the small sleeves of the baby’s shirts.
Match socks the size of dog biscuits,

to arrange in his dresser.
Where before, mothers hung shirts
and sheets out to dry.
Now, spots of color in the rubble.

Joyce Victor

Joyce Victor lives with her husband in Santa Fe, N.M. She’s a member of Santa Fe Meeting and a former member of University Friends in Seattle, Wash. Her Jewish father escaped from Nazi Germany. Joyce has worked with the Alternatives to Violence Project, and in solitary confinement. She’s enrolled in the Pacific University MFA program in writing.

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