Oxford, Saturday, June

Cecile Afable



The boys in Florence Park

had strong limbs and keening voices, 

little hands urgently clasped, as if in prayer, 

around miniaturized AK-47s. 

My father curved bamboo, called it a bow.

I shot arrows across the yard into the heart

of a rhododendron bush, silent and blooming. 

There was a father in Florence Park,

when his son was tired he took the plastic gun

and packed it into a picnic basket.

Do you sometimes see the shadow

of the person a child will become

falling over their face, their little hands,

the toy weapons they carry, mouths full

of emotion, mouths full of screams?



Cecile Afable is a Filipino-American writer who was born in the Catskill mountains of New York state and has subsequently lived in central Massachusetts, Boston, Grenoble, and the Ardèche region of France. She spends a lot of time thinking about the history and evolution of language. Afable is one half of the renga project at halfemptyhalfdangerous.com, and you can find her on instagram @ars_poetica_et_cetera.