A Semblance of Peace

No. This is not what you expected:

the bodies, lying askew,

papers torn, one bowl shattered,

pottery shards scattered on the floor, in that one room

tell-tale evidence

of a localized, violent altercation. Otherwise

there is a semblance of peace,

the books, in their proper positions,

neatly, accurately, lined up by author, upon their shelf,

clean dishes still in the washer, now cold, waiting

to be put away, house plants

a little dry, their small branches

raised, as if in defense, as if, perhaps,

they have been witness to a world

gone mad, as if they could not believe

whatever it was they might have seen, or could

not understand how this happened,

it was so, to them, out of the blue,

that they, though usually so pliable,

so ready to rustle if there had been even the slightest breeze,

had become rigid, frozen, frightened

out of their wits. Oh, beasts may roar

in the night. Wild things may stampede.

But only human beings can rage

in this manner, can tear out each other’s hearts

in reaction to something so banal as an improper facial expression,

a smile instead of a frown, or visa versa;

or inadvertent, impersonal: a slip of speech, an inappropriate word.