She wakes in the night
to a red glow, something burning
beyond her window, by the side
of the road. Beneath a streetlight,
smoke curls away toward invisible
stars. When she opens the door
night floods in and she rises
on that river of darkness and ash.
She is a fish flitting in a rock pool,
a small, brown frog grunting
among reeds. Two boys hunt
her on the riverbank, their hands
loaded with smooth round stones.
She hears their feet suck on the soft,
wet ground. Her eyes are painted
on the water’s skin. Her face
is made of mud, her body twisted
from chains of straw. The boys
are blinded by the moon.
Their faces glow and disappear
in the shallows, as if they had turned
to wood. She breathes. Tonight
she retains the shape of history,
and bears the marks of a million dead.