The Six O’Clock News

by: Emily Monroe

_

They have replaced the bombs with cotton balls
and the earth is growing green as a graveyard
with the fertilizer of quietly crumbled bones.

The woman on television is talking about a bomb planted inside a school
ten children burned to the consistency of strawberry jam
but her tongue licks red lips and you can’t help but notice
how beautiful she is.

Her words fall like snow
So you do not hear their screams
a tree makes no sound at all when it falls in a forest of memory
and this forest is tangled so thick with words that the branches bow and touch the earth
and when children scream their voices turn to leaves
and scatter across the ground until all you can hear is green.

The weekend looks like rain, she says
It is the first time all day that she frowns.

But the rain comes one day too late.
The building already slouched,
heavy with smoke
and the weight of itself,
burned.

Fire can only burn for so long and
in the end it will all –
we will all –
turn to dirt.
In other news, she says.

She tells the story of a girl in Ohio
who looked in the mirror and called herself beautiful
until her mother slapped her across the face and said
nothing comes that easy
or that free
then packed her into the trunk of her car
dropped her in the river where weeds clutch garbage around the waist
and beauty is not a choice but a song.

But rivers wind like arms all around us
pressing against our shores so we never forget
how suddenly we can fall.

Don’t forget, there is a sale this weekend at Macy’s, she says
buy one sweater get one free
thank god they did not sell teeth that way
or her mouth would be so full
her words would get stuck on molars and wedge like plaque
in the craters of her smile.

I wonder if the earth looks in the mirror and hates what she sees
if she wishes her mountains were bigger
or she could do something about these damn rivers snaking across her white plains
I wonder if she gazes to the left and her stomach aches to be as bright and round as venus
or as hopeful as mars

She opens her mouth to speak but out spills yarn
yards of it that wrap around her fingers
curling through empty streets and climbing the branches of trees
until the world is embroidered
and bullets fall to the earth gentle as raindrops
quiet as an empty beer can floating on brown waves
quiet as a child’s scream falling into a bed of leaves

and when you fall  all you’ll hear
is the blood pounding in your own ears
and the melody of rain
like fingers pressing against glass
like fish bending to kiss a face carved of sand
like a little girl’s smile
one day too late.