The Sounds
by Sonia Saikaley

The sound of slaughter
awoke my father
most mornings in the mountain village
he longed for
when Canadian winters
shivered old bones.

The sound of lambs crying
fills his eardrums;
their shrieks travel over hillsides
of his village, over oceans dividing
his chosen home and birth country.
The sheep cry, waking him.

He sits up and glances at the
photograph of his brother;
old and torn
from a turbulent sea
voyage from there to here.
He remembers
seamen shouting for order
rats biting passengers' ankles.
The photo of his dead brother
clutched in his hands.

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