“It’s brand-new,” he says, showing us the third room. “You know, they make us put it in here.”
He is apologetic, as though a steel door to a steel box with a built-in filtration system makes me think this house is cold.
He doesn’t quite know how I feel.
The screech of steel sliding across the window
the way the walls close in when the door slams shut
the sound of the box above and the box below sealing families securely
stacked one on top the other
laughing because the shower curtain practically came with me this time
and she was on the toilet
and he left his sandwich on the table
and they’re jumping up and down because they’re just brave
and I, with no faith in miracles, believe in this box.
is all I have to rely on.
“You can take it off,” he says, misreading my eyes. “Put it back if there’s a war.”
“There is no time,” I mumble, remembering how we were sitting on the couch and the siren rose, and we ran and turned off the gas and grabbed the kids, slid the window, slammed the door and sat in a pool of adrenaline you can never be prepared for,
My daughter sleeps in our steel box. My son is light and easier to transfer.
I don’t sleep at all.
We walk through the rooms again, looking to see how we can fit our things in this amount of space. My hand trails the cold, steel door. A picture of rubble covering all those things flashes through me.
Our blood, our bones, our hopes and dreams
stuffed inside this warm, steel box
We can fit it all in this warm, steel box.