Burning Children

I still see that child’s face
As I threw him toward the flames
I felt remorse
Like when I step on a spider and it struggles.
It smelled like branding cows.
And it just sounded like lambs at the slaughter.
I felt powerful.
For the first time.
My final circumcision.
When I went home, my wife was in the corner.
No one knew she was half.
I told her to make dinner.
She said there was no food.
I hit her.
For the first time.
The children cried.
It sounded like lambs.
She wanted to know where I’d been.
I hit her.
Then I left to get a beer, but the store was empty
Broken everywhere.
Maybe I saw him there.
Someone was laying in the street.
I think he was my neighbor.
I pretended not to notice.
I went back to watch the coals.
A child stood their crying.
She was all alone with tears and ash.
She looked like that face.
I wished someone had thrown her in.
Like a spider.
I picked her up and told her to be quiet.
I walked to the embers and spit.
It made a hissing sound.
Like a demonic serpent.
Like hell.
I looked at the face
And lifted her over the embers.
She cried and I brought her to my chest.
I brought her to my wife
And told her not to teach our new baby any foreign songs.
Today I have a new daughter.
Today I am a murderer.

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