A poem

"Three Women"

I’m at a rich man’s house with my platoon
at night
to kill or capture the rich man.
Knock first, see if they open, 
if not, go in hard. 
Don’t give them much time.

They open.
Soldiers run up the stairs, through rooms. 
Three women are found and pushed into the front room, 
one old, two young. 
I start with the young woman.

Where’s your father?

Crashing, thumping and yelling, 
soldiers overturn furniture, scan rooms, 
break cabinets, searching, 
yelling “all clear” while running through the house. 

Why is he in Jordan?
Her hand begins to shake. 
I see she’s beautiful, 
mauve headscarf, earrings, makeup, dress and shawl. 
She’s poised, though afraid, 
sitting on the edge of a low couch.  

What business?
I don’t know. 

Her hand is shaking, quivering. 
Is she eighteen, fifteen? 
Oh, so beautiful, so dignified, 
so poised – yes, poised,
though afraid. 

Where does you father work?
I don’t know. 

Where does he get his money?
I don’t know.

Her quivering and shaking hand,
soft, white, delicate,  
she sits straight like she’s trying to lift her head through the roof,
to rise above

so pretty, so poised, 
though afraid.