from Deaf Republic: 11

It is December 8 and my brother Tony was killed by the soldiers. December 8 and the police are reopening the Southern Trolleyways. December 8 when my wife lifts Tony’s body from the ground, his arm tied over her shoulder—her face is damp, her hair dirty. And the soldiers unveil the damn Trolleyways, and I stand feeling (a quick march of bumps across my back and thighs) nothing.

When she comes home, I run a bath for Sonya and wash her hair, gently mixing the finest of my brother’s shampoos with quiet precision, while Sonya cries and cries.

These poems are from the unfinished manuscript Deaf Republic. This story of a pregnant woman and her husband living during an epidemic of deafness and civil unrest was found beneath the floorboards in a house in Eastern Europe. Several versions of the manuscript exist.—IK
Source: Poetry (May 2009)