Needles

I tell my husband how

I saw needles,

Hypodermic and laying,

On the side of the road,

Dumped there from a trash can

Overturned on trash day.

Which side, my husband asks me,

And he is looking at our bed, and

I say, it does not matter, because

I pass it anyway, walking each way

To school and back, with our children.

And I tell my husband how

I called the police,

How they came and collected them,

The needles, wearing gloves, or how

There are more now,

More needles, strewn

Across the hairline of where

The road meets the grass of a lawn

Of a house where someone,

Someone is throwing them away improperly,

I say, even though there is no law saying so,

And nothing, nothing I can do about it.

And we lay in this bed.

And the darkness is puncturing the room,

Flooding into it,

And I know,

I know this is nothing,

Nothing compared to countries

Where war is fought,

Countries torn apart by war,

Countries like Afghanistan,

Where war has torn through its skin,

Where mothers have to send children

Out into a world of war and what

War has left behind,

Hidden underneath dirt or piles

Of metal or the hood of a car,

IEDs shaped like organs,

Cluster bombs, clustered

Like rocks or kidneys, and

How they are undetonated,

Ready to explode, how

My husband tells me,

They call them ERW,

The explosive remnants of war.

He is asleep now,

And I am thinking about

How a landmine looks like a breast,

With its circular pressure plate, and

The arming plug, a nipple,

Or about what the word remnant means,

When it is an arm,

A leg, or the torso

Of a child.

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