I am practicing spelling with my son,

Saying the word sever out loud,

Letter by letter, joining together,

Like bones.

And my son is telling me about how,

He was playing with his friends and

One of them pretended that his arm

Was cut off, gone, he says,

And my son is just nine years old,

And he cannot imagine it,

A world where arms come off

And don’t go back on, or how,

War is a world of lost limbs,

How thousands of soldiers

Are amputees now, or how

There are hospitals,

Hospitals full of them,

Soldiers with bodies blown up

By war, limbs blown off, arms

And legs left on sides of roads,

And how that is not counting

The limbs of children, the arms

And the legs of children living

In countries where war is fought,

Or how they climb piles of metal

That war left behind,

Where unexploded ordnance

That was left behind

Still blows up, and

That is the thing about a hand,

I tell my husband, later, standing

In our hallway, this radius bone

Of our house, stretching itself

Towards the bedrooms, and behind it,

How the living room and the kitchen

Are dark,

And I want to tell my husband,

Who went to war and came home,

I want to tell him about bones,

How in the palm of a hand,

There are trapezoid and trapezium bones

That cluster together like stones,

But my husband just reaches for me,

And he is saying no or I know,

Reaching his arm

Out to me, giving me his hand,

And I take it.





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