Piled on the pews—a hideous laundry stacked and stained
(the twenty-two years of blood rust unbreathable),
their bodies vanished. But not their clothes—
bloodied shirts, graying pants, sagging skirts.
Underground the skulls are shelved—
and skeletal legs and arms on
hundreds and hundreds of wooden slats,
where I could descend to see the hollow remains.
I don’t. I walk outside,
exhale, listen for the longed
familiar—wind, birds, children running home
from school along the red dusty road so near
the church—where ten thousand people came
for protection in sacred walls,
instead a massacre, no one saved,
their bones and clothes reminding.