This desperate lament, a word foreign to her tongue, was cast from the gaping mouth of the woman with the hollow eyes and withering breath, to meet its fate under the officer’s boot. Still, he had heard it, seen it billow into the mid-winter air, hitched his shoulder as it met his skin with the haunting fragility of a snowflake.
An infection— caught from the hours of standing in the cold, the deep rivets in the icy mud, the screams and vapor ascending skyward from the ovens— the whisper stayed, filled his ears, and then his life, with wondering.
Ariel K. Moniz (she/her) is a queer Black poetess and Hawaii local currently living abroad. She is the winner of the 2016 Droste Poetry Award and a Best of the Net nominee. Her writing has found homes with Blood Bath Literary Zine, Sledgehammer Literary Journal, and Sunday Mornings at the River Press, among others. She is a co-founder of The Hyacinth Review. You can find her on her website at kissoftheseventhstar.home.blog, on Twitter @kissthe7thstar, on Instagram @kiss.of.the.seventh.star, or staring out to sea.