Meghan O'Rourke

War Lullaby

Wet daggers of grass
cast shadows over one another
beneath the porch light—


the boy stretched on the lawn,
fighting sleep,
fingers the tournament ring:


inside the house
his mother shouts, blinds
slap in the breeze,


and upstairs the smallest stir
as they sleep, eyelashes like
tiny whips against their cheeks.


The dogs bark, a door slams,
the boys breathe deep,
then shudder—


I have seen them
out of the arms of mothers.


“War Lullaby” is from Halflife (W. W. Norton, 2007).