Search Patrols

I cover the eyes of Gena, 7, and Anushka, 2,
as their father drops his trousers to be searched, and his flesh shakes,

and around him:
silence’s gross belly flaps. The crowd watches.

The children watch us watch:
soldiers drag the naked man up the staircase. I teach his children’s hands to make of anguish

a language —
see how deafness nails us into our bodies. Anushka

speaks to homeless dogs as if they are men,
speaks to men

as if they are men
and not just souls on crutches of bone.

Townspeople
watch children but feel under the bare feet of their thoughts

the cold stone of the city.