To the Mother of the Suicide Bomber –
Our eyes may never meet. I don’t know whether you cover your head, veil your face – what catches the free fall of your hair. Perhaps you think now of the toddler who squirmed his toes in sand. The child that pulled your fingers and asked for more, for more and yet again more. Sometimes with eyes, sometimes lips and fingertips, you gave him more.
This way we mother. His itchy spot on his shoulder blade you scratched telling a story of how he lost his wings. Now you face less. The less of pieces you bury, along with lullabies you wove as you soothed his cowlicks.
Does a wind in your ear suggest you should have done something? Or haunt you? The video clips over and over and over again? All how bombs twist into smoke? You still see him whole, don’t you?
We are the world’s mothers. Had it been in your power, would his life have exploded into sirens, ambulances, funeral after funeral? Do you hide? From our neighbors? Yourself?
We expect our children will bury us. I would touch your hand. Or sit outside the locks on your door if touch is too much. You would not need to look me in the eye.
Your door slammed shut to those who come to question you about the fragments you buried. The door you never open without looking to see who is there.
I feel you inside and respect the door you’ve closed.
Bio: Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet whose work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, earning 7 Pushcart prize nominations. Her most recent collection, How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) focuses on how education, childhood and ancestry contributed to the her sense of white privilege in a multicultural world. Website: triciaknoll.com