She has to pity him after what happened,
rocking alone like that in the rubble,
covered with boils. She´s watched him scrape
his sores with anything broken, half naked
and bleeding, scraping his soul.
And if she staggers out of the dark
to hound him when he is busy
with his own grief, surely he´ll speak
for her too, three daughters, seven sons,
aren´t they in this together?
She´s wearing the slip she had on
when the house was blitzed and everything
with it: children, donkeys, we know
how many. And how, with nothing to lose,
she begs him to damn God and die.
He´s all that´s left, beyond what they
used to be for each other, abuse
or solace. He scratches his scabs
and tells her she´s foolish. She stares
at the unrelenting sky.
Shirley Kaufman, Threshold (Copper Canyon Press, 2003)