Benghazi, September 11, 2012, by Addy Robinson McCulloch

Addy Robinson McCulloch
BENGHAZI, SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

Like mothers everywhere, she worries
when her son doesn’t come home on time.
Lately he’s been out all night,
won’t say where he’s been or with whom.
She works as a maid in a hotel, her daughter in another,
but for her son there is no work.

Still, he does come home.
By morning he is passed out on his pallet
outside the one bedroom she shares with her daughter.
Until tonight. Just after midnight he returns,
his face black with soot, his shirt torn.
She watches him fall to the floor, sobbing.
She hears yelling in the street, goes to the door.
In the distance, flames leap in the sky.

Calmly she closes and locks the door.
Go and wash, she says. Give me your clothes.
If she’s careful, she can burn his clothes
in the hotel incinerator.
One fire to hide another.

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