Patricia Horn O'Brien

A Measure of Safety

March 13, 2017



"The causes for dislocation and migration are devastating.  In this poem I try to imagine myself as a mother in the midst of urban warfare ... a scene, sadly, one might discover in so many locations around the world."  
~  Pat





A Measure of Safety 

(In Mosul, for one)
I know the map of this kitchen.
How many paces from its south wall
to its north, how many east to west.


I know the measure of its sugar
and salt.  The measure of oil
I guage by its weight. 


I know, from its window, the point 
our street vanishes into the rubble
of our neighborhood.  A street that once 
had no vanishing point.


I know the breathing of our children
asleep in the next room.  Their
whimpering sleep.  


Awake, my children imagine I know 
how to keep them safe.  In dreams, 
danger seeps through every measured wall.

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