Hear me, my son: bombs were falling
over Mexico City
but no one noticed. The air spread poison through
the streets and open windows.
You’d just finished breakfast and were watching
cartoons on TV.
I was reading in the next room
when I knew we were going to die.
Despite the dizziness and nausea I dragged myself
to the kitchen and found you on the floor.
We hugged. You asked what was happening
and I didn’t tell you we were on death’s telethon
but I whispered: we are going on a journey,
you and I, together, don’t be afraid.
When it left, death didn’t even
close our eyes.
What are we? you asked a week a year later,
ants, bees, wrong numbers
in the big spoiled soup of chance?
We’re human beings, my son, nearly birds,
public heroes and secrets.
Version by B. H. Boston