Today’s poem is “Your Village” by Elana Bell.
Once in a village that is burning
because a village is always somewhere burning
And if you do not look because it is not your village
it is still your village
In that village is a hollow child
You drown when he looks at you with his black, black eyes
And if you do not cry because he is not your child
he is still your child
All the animals that could run away have run away
The trapped ones make an orchestra of their hunger
The houses are ruin Nothing grows in the garden
The grandfather’s grave is there A small stone
under the shade of a charred oak Who will brush off the dead
leaves Who will call his name for morning prayer
Where will they—the ones who slept in this house and ate from this dirt—?
This poem originally appeared in The Massachusetts Review and also appears in the collection Eyes, Stone by Elana Bell. Audio clip via PBS News Hour.