Janice D. Soderling


We Wait

Another brick through the window last night.
They used to come only at night.
Not now.

Nights are the worst,
but even in the daytime, I startle at every sudden noise,
the slam of a car door,
loud voices of passers-by.

Now it is dark again but we cannot sleep.
We wait. Our child sleeps, sandwiched between us
like a slice of prime meat between bits of old bread.
I lie in the purple silence and try to find
something good to think about.

My husband lies tense beside me in the dark.
He repeats it like a mantra.
A man should be able to protect his family,
His thin arms.
He is a scholar, not a fighter.

We lie waiting. What will be thrown in tonight?
A Molotov cocktail?
The severed head of a pig?
Do you know the cost of replacing a broken window?

Last week, the neo party members,
the ones who call themselves patriots,
piled out of their vans in the public square.
I was there. I saw it all.
One held a brief speech. The others stood at attention,
holding flags.
They trashed everything breakable.
They were gone in ten minutes, leaving chaos.
No one said a word to oppose them.
When the police cars showed up,
no one had seen anything. I kept quiet too.

What can we do in this darkness
but wait?

Janice D. Soderling is an American-born poet who lives in Sweden. Her work is in the current print journal Magma and has appeared at Babel Fruit, nth position, The Pedestal, The Flea and numerous other venues.

(author retains copyright)