A War Story

There is a story from Vietnam
about monks
kneeling in a still room
when the soldiers arrive,
kick in the door I think,
point guns, shout.
All that violence
slashed into all that peace.
And the monks,
they don’t flinch.
They don’t open their eyes, startle,
grab each other’s arms or
look to their leader.
They keep sitting there, silent,
noticing their in breath,
their out breath.
I think of those monks every night
when I hear a loud sound in the street
and my heart races and my eyes
flash open and I’m already
planning how quickly I can get
to my babies, where we could hide
if needed.
I think of them in the morning
when I read the news,
and during the day when panic pushes
through the spaces around my lungs.
I carry them with me
through my tense and worried days,
these monks,
breathing the same air as soldiers,
their stillness a foreign language
I cannot decipher.

4 thoughts on “A War Story

Leave a Reply