Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Firing Squad

On balconies, sunlight. On poplars, sunlight on our lips.
Today no one is shooting.
A girl cuts her hair with imaginary scissors—
the scissors in sunlight, her hair in sunlight.
Another girl steals a pair of shoes from a sleeping soldier, skewered with light.
As soldier wakes and looks at us looking at them
what do they see?
Tonight they shot fifty women at Lerna St.,
I sit down to write and tell you what I know:
a child learns the world by putting it in her mouth,
a girl becomes a woman and a woman, earth.
Body, they blame you for all things and they
seek in the body what does not live in the body.

Credit


Copyright © 2018 by Ilya Kaminsky. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“This piece is from a recently completed manuscript, Deaf Republic. In the book, a boy is killed by soldiers breaking up a protest, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—all have gone deaf, and their dissent is coordinated by sign language. ‘Firing Squad’ is dedicated to Garth Greenwell.”
—Ilya Kaminsky
 

Author


Ilya Kaminsky

Born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1977, Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019).

Date Published: 2018-01-26

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/firing-squad