Inside the house as though inside a tear
mother sits on a chair, eyeless, facing the girl.
Grandmother stretches out on the floor,
her mouth opening and closing like the mouth of a fish.

Outside they are digging trenches, in 1948.
Those behind the house may be lost forever.
The girl asks to go outside and play.
Mother and grandmother nod in agreement
without thinking that the girl might be swallowed by a hole.

The girl doesn’t know who is crying hardest.
In a moment grandmother will fall
under the darkness of a chair.

Flowers, beautiful flowers! shouts the man with a wheelbarrow in the street.
The shout cuts the crying short, the girl sees
how a tunnel gapes in the room
like the parting of her ancestors’ sea.

If you don’t buy me a gladiola, I’ll stand behind the locked door
and scream. The girl straightens up. What does she want, a sword?
At that moment, she killed time. Grandmother and mother sit
like statues.