War Zone

By Karen Vande Bossche

They dug under the walls
left the passageways open;
so running back and forth
food accumulated
underground, tucked into
corners where the heat
leaked in to stop them
from freezing, kept dirt
soft as their feet hushed by.

Neighbors feigned ignorance.
Somehow there were no
footprints on the snow;
sounds only mimicked
a cracking expanding house
at deep night when no one
was supposed to listen.

But I couldn’t sleep, felt
their ridiculously fast fetid
hearts beat below where I lay.
I panicked to see their
trepidation, their hunger.
Didn’t want them in,
couldn’t send them away.
I didn’t keep their secret.

“Bodies fell out,” he wrote
when he found them.
“There was a horrid smell
in the left front.” An entire
family wrapped together
then laid in the truck bed
to be taken and dumped.

I won’t look in the cellar;
won’t walk by the loose
earth. I sleep with my pillow
wedged between my elbows,
covering my ears. I understand
annihilation of a species;
but fear their ghosts,
their nails on the wall.

"Tunnel" by Thanasis Anastasiou

“Tunnel” by Thanasis Anastasiou

Karen Vande Bossche has been writing poetry for decades. She believes that poetry is a way to remain sane in a world where she encounters classrooms full of adolescents daily who ask questions such as “Aren’t you too old to have a tattoo?” Some of her most recent work can be found in Damfino, Damselfly, and Shark Reef. A collection of her poetry in manuscript form entitled Islands that have Gone Missing received Honorable Mention from Concrete Wolf.