Category Archives: Home Bodies

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.