2009 Honorable Mention in Poetry

ON THE BOMBING OF THE MARRIOTT HOTEL IN ISLAMABAD by Cleo O’Brien-Udry

At the gate someone is shouting running he comes running hears the truck low and thick the
crash the truck in the gate is smoking
get water the truck is heaving louder louder
the door is open people coming can’t see through can’t the smoke the truck backs out get out
the ground up to his ears red is burning the truck screaming into the sky like a bullet black falling into soot and ember and twisted iron
the truck crashing down
the sky
the black his eyes in the spin the shells of cars the tires the grey the ashes arms  reaching into smoke his eyes his lungs
breathe out
he catches the eye of a one-eyed woman she stares open mouthed no scream the open mouth how she gasps (listen) he can’t see her teeth wide he can’t look she covers the hole of her eye open mouth can’t hear her swallow smoke cough  he turns and the one-eyed woman falls her open mouth full of ashes
a great grey thing spilling
the rubber in his shoes the white the bone the skin the woman’s eye the metal glow at the edges of broken cars crying running he stands
stretches of fire the people pulsing
throbbing quiet a beating ears screaming the dull pound in his head past the red black pounding he stands shakes steps out
silent
watch them run watch them
he can’t stop
a one-eyed woman’s one black ash eye
the foundation snapping the crack the floors one on one hollowed building watch it collapse people knees to the ground foreheads fall floor on floor
can’t stop  
the burning so loud he can’t hear the fire the crack of the falling truck explode.

 

<Thornton Wilder Writing Competition