Airstrikes

She opens the door and steps inside.

The tainted air seethes,
its teeth still gnashing.
Flinty sparks of syllables whirl
through an aftermath of fireworks
that seeps into her bones.

Some nights are strategic airstrikes.
Each parent bombards the other
with a blaze of semantically
driven soul missiles that
they think she never hears.
Meanness lingers.
They teach her that.

She tiptoes out the door,
then bolts before anyone notices
that she ever came home.

Brenda Warren 2012

This is my response to a writing challenge at Trifecta, which is to use the third definition of fireworks in a piece between 33 and 333 words in length.
fireworks
1: a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions
2: plural a display of fireworks
3: plural
a : display of temper or intense conflict
b : a spectacular display

15 thoughts on “Airstrikes

  1. Love this: “semantically
    driven soul missiles”

    And the final stanza:
    “She tiptoes out the door,
    then bolts before anyone notices
    that she ever came home.”

  2. ‘teeth still gnashing’ ‘seeps into her bones’, the first stanza really grabbed me. and the arguments being like air strikes was a very unique, yet appropriate comparison.
    the last line of the second stanza ‘they teach her that’, a true misfortune. sometimes, a child is better to have separated parents rather than live in such a hazardous environment.
    great write!

  3. Really well done. I liked the phrase “strategic airstrikes” — it reminds me of those nights when my own parents would argue and try not to let us hear.

  4. WOW was my first reaction Brenda and then I saw that others too had this reaction.
    How hard it must be for a child caught in a war zone aka home. Thank you. :P

  5. I can relate to this – especially like “semantically driven soul missiles.” I remember overhearing unfair fights as a child…and they always thought we were sleeping!

  6. Wow, Brenda, at first I thought this was about a child of a warring country – but the reality is just as bad. When home is a war zone, children are always collateral damage, right? Wonderfully expressed, and actually quite like my growing up. So it sent a shiver. Peace, Amy

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