Shana Ross

O Gets a Call from a Forgotten War

And suddenly home was far away and incomprehensible
The mundane things clouding your judgment with clutter
Like that movie where someone sleeps and the forest
Swarms in around, you wake up and

             I got a phone call from my sister in Syria
             The time was there around three a.m.
             I said to her why have you not slept yet.

I make my armor of keratin sheets
Tiny paper thin superficialities, this American life
Like nails to chew on, you can worry it for days
Like a dog with a bully stick.  Inevitably,
You hit the quick, you chew through the hardened forms that
Prevent understanding, protect you from falling
Into the enormity of grief

             She said, I’m trying to sleep but I couldn’t. Why?
             She said, not just me all the people who live in the town
             Are still awake.  All the people afraid to sleep
             From the sound of the bombs that fall over our heads.
             And all the kids are crying like always.
             And, she said, no one knows
             If we will live for tomorrow or not.  All we can do is just
             To pray to god to keep us safe.

So my friend with the sister cries and cries and then cries to me.
I am unsure myself how to live and also keep living; that’s the luxury of here
Where words are cheap and plentiful and float away like
Balloons that will fall far away and become incomprehensible.

Shana Ross is a poet and a playwright with an MBA. She lives in Connecticut and works globally as a consultant and leadership expert. This decade, her work has been published in Anapest and two issues of SHANTIH.