The Sound of Freedom
My neighbor wakes up screaming most nights.
I wouldn’t hear him if I spent my nights asleep
and not outside trying to make sense
of the stars and tracing constellations
to find a cure for insomnia.
His wife must soothe him back to sleep
with her warm breath, her skin that smells
like lavender, her whispers that the bed is
soft and solid, not a moving tank in a shaken
snowglobe of sand.
When he was deployed I heard her on the patio
throwing dishes, crash after satisfying crash
of cheap wedding shower china the cymbal
ring of loneliness. Later she would tell me
they taught her that in wife school
take your anger and a Sharpie, write out
the harbored hurt on plates and cups
the bottled words like hate and hard and fuck
and hurl it onto concrete, splintered shards
of rage until it is all powder and dust.
After the fireworks lit the sky, all the illegal
rockets shot by drunk boys playing war
the whistles and pops echoing through our suburb
the bang like bursting soup bowls.
The cats cower in the hall away from windows,
the dog is under the bed whimpering.
My neighbor is on his belly taking cover
seeing his friend in pieces over and over.
Walking through my backyard my feet are slick
with mulberry juice. In the morning, smoke will
linger thick on the air, seep through the windows,
I will see footprints on my carpet, dark as blood.
KINDRA McDONALD received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches poetry at The Muse Writers Center and is an adjunct writing professor and doctoral student. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. She is the author of Concealed Weapons published by ELJ and Elements and Briars published by Red Bird Chapbooks, she lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and cats and she changes hobbies monthly.