The Children’s Hour
Soldiers with guns are at our door again. Sister, quick. Change into a penny. I’ll fold you in a handkerchief, put you in my pocket and jump inside a sack, one of the uncooked rice. Brother, hurry. Turn yourself into one of our mother’s dolls on the living room shelf. I’ll be the dust settling on your eyelids. The ones wearing wings are in the yard. The ones wearing lightning are in the house. The ones wearing stars and carrying knives are dividing our futures among them. Don’t answer when they call to us in the voice of Nanny. Don’t listen when they promise sugar. Don’t come out until evening, or when you hear our mother weeping to herself. If only I could become the mirror in her purse, I’d never come back until the end of time.
From So Much Things To Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Copyright © 2010 by Li-Young Lee. Used with permisson of Calabash International Literary Trust and the author.