At school, my daughter made a skeleton:
She cut little swabs of ribs, toes, and eyes,
broken Q-Tips held down by slick-smooth pearls
of glue against matte black construction paper.
Flipping channels from the couch, we see a show
about Africa. Perhaps we’ll learn about lions.
As corpses appear, I quickly cover her eyes.
I click off the TV, amazed at my lapse.
Quiet seconds pass. Then, “Daddy, what
Sixty-five thousand fled the church, stampeded
to the school, the grave of masses. Armed with dirt
clods and rocks, fingernails and teeth, no match
for the Hutus. Then they watched each other die.
There’s a place called Murambi, where the walls are lined
with the bones of babies. Eggshell skulls are cracked.
Shivers of femurs. Fractured ulnae.
Saying grace, I feel the bones in my daughter’s hand.
The Q-Tip skeleton stares from the fridge.
About the Poet:
Elijah Burrell holds his MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. His writing has appeared in Measure, The Sugar House Review, Structo, Swink Magazine, Cedars, The Country Dog Review, and many others. He received the 2009 Cecil A. Blue Award in Poetry and the 2010 Jane Kenyon Scholarship at Bennington College. Recently, two of his poems were featured on The Missouri Review’s audio podcast. Burrell teaches creative writing and literature at Lincoln University and resides in Jefferson City, Missouri with his wife and two little girls.
About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.