The half-night is alive. Long cars move slow.
Jose peeks through the porch rail.
He is the only child outside -- he is
so thin they will not see him.
(The mothers stay inside, they tell
the sons to stay inside.) He remembers
playing soccer in the streets,
dodging the pigs, evenings near San Salvador.
He watches older boys move between the buildings,
their faces dark-cornered, expertly tucked.
Their clothes shine: a well-choreographed
shuffle to the cars then a glide back.
He has heard this called war, but it is
too silent for that. He knows war.
-- such a noiseless stream of cars down Newton Street --
Naomi Thiers was a Washington, D.C. area writer whose poetry had been published in several literary magazines when this poem appeared.