When the bullets came,
gentle as a tickle
Her eyes, half the size
of her face, a wide open moon.
The surprised ‘o’ of her barely
lips, soft as an eggshell.
Then, the smallest of sound:
a maybe hiccup of her still
A baby is broken today, spilled
over the sides of her father’s car
like a runny yolk. Chicago, opens
its mouth to catch the blood, then closes
it: snap. Silence. A baby is broken
today and there is a funeral to be had.
My students, all the ones I love, are at school.
Or in their father’s cars, or walking
on a sidewalk. My nephew, not yet born,
sleeps quietly in my sister’s stomach.
Today the world is more full of babies
than usual. I see them everywhere.
In strollers, in coffee shops- their toes,
the size of my nail bits, curling and uncurling.
Their fat dimpled fists. I watch their fathers
place a broad hand on their pudgy backs
laughing over scones. They lift their babies,
these tiny kings and queens, high into
the air and smell the cotton.
© Fatimah Asghar