Lee’s “The Children’s Hour”

Li-Young Lee (1957- )
The Children’s Hour


Soldiers with guns are at our door again.
Sister, quick. Change into a penny.
I’ll fold you in a handkerchief,
put you in my pocket
and jump inside a sack,
one of the uncooked rice.


Brother, hurry.
Turn yourself
into one of our mother’s dolls
on the living room shelf.
I’ll be the dust settling on your eyelids.


The ones wearing wings are in the yard.
The ones wearing lightning are in the house.
The ones wearing stars and carrying knives
are dividing our futures among them.


Don’t answer when they call to us in the voice of Nanny.
Don’t listen when they promise sugar.
Don’t come out until evening,
or when you hear our mother weeping to herself.
If only I could become the mirror in her purse,
I’d never come back until the end of time.



See More:
Hughes’ “Dream”
Flynn’s “Cartoon Physics, Part 1”
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