The mother’s song is
      the sound of the boot
compressing the snow
      the sound of the bayonet
stabbing a bale of hay
      the sound of a gunshot
behind the barn
      the sound of a spade
edging into dry earth
       the sound of a prayer
muttered by the doomed
       penitent hiding behind
a curtain his mouth
       taped shut his thumbs
cut off and a hole in
       his throat through which
a thrush reaches out 
       a worm in its beak
blind and twisted
       as an ampersand 
a child practiced
       over and over
in a black book
       as punishment for
daring to imagine
       the mother’s song
that’s written on torn
       white wings from
the other side
       of understanding
where everything
       has a way of breathing
and everything
       is as wondrous as
waking up in rags
       on a forest floor
realizing that no one
       survived not even
those who live.