Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Townspeople Circle the Boy’s Body

The dead boy’s body still lies in the square.
Sonya spoons him on the cement. Inside her—her child sleeps. Momma Galya
brings Sonya a pillow. A man in a wheelchair brings a gallon of milk.
Alfonso lies next to them in the snow. Wraps one arm around her belly. He
puts one hand to the ground. He hears the cars stop, doors slam, dogs bark. When
he pulls his hand off the ground, he hears nothing.
Behind them, a puppet lies on cement, mouth filling with snow.
Forty minutes later, it is morning. Soldiers step back into the square.
The townspeople lock arms to form a circle and another circle around that
circle and another circle to keep the soldiers from the boy’s body.
We watch Sonya stand (the child inside her straightens its leg). Someone has
given her a sign, which she holds high above her head: the people are deaf.



The town watches  

From Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. Reprinted with permissions from Graywolf Press.

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