Rubber Bullets

it’s funny how
sound carries
wary words are
never heard
and whispered prayers

but on the night
of the 31st
I learned how
rubber bullets
ring out

the sticky sweet
air between
drowned out the screams
I later read
and in their stead
steady and quick

pop pop pop pop

and with the air
so deadly thick
you could pretend
it was the Fourth of July

just fireworks, high
sky lit up
the sounds of the USA
from two miles away
on my tree-lined street
where my feet moved me,
not the other way,

I whispered a prayer,
lost to the breeze
a simple word –


and an older woman
with oaken-like knees
and sandy, fly-away hair

she waved and she said
she said something to me
something I couldn’t quite hear

“are you okay, sweetie?”