page contents

The Sins of Our Fathers
Kym Cunningham

Image ©  Thomas Kelley

Image © Thomas Kelley

Muted looks and conversations that stopped
When I entered the room
I took it as attention
Momentarily distracted from the
American Embassy’s vodka and caviar 

My toddling body hid
In a must-curtained crevice
The velvet brocade
A little damp against my fingertips
Never brushing my face

In the field
Engineers scribbled notes as
The Osprey crashed and burned
Its smoldering cremains worth more
Than the two pilots on board

My father named me and the price for
A metal pterodactyl capable of
Wreaking genocide
With a single word
An officer ordered whiskey and a strike

Somewhere a girl watched
her home turn to flame
She had no velvet curtains
Her fingertips left ashen streaks
Where tears should have been

She saw clearly in the blinding sunlight
The landscape’s skeleton
As sharply defined as the pain
Underneath her ribcage
Heart displaced by rubble

Who does she hate
The pilots who carried out the orders
The officer who made the decision
The government who proposed national security
The society who agreed that murder is necessary

Does she think of me
Daughter to a merchant of death
Education and house paid for
By the act that snatched both
From her grasp

Does she know
That not a day goes by
When I do not think
Of her

Kym Cunningham will receive her MFA from San Jose State University with emphases in creative nonfiction and poetry. She is the Lead Nonfiction Editor of Reed Magazine, the oldest literary magazine West of the Mississippi. She received the Ida Fay Sachs Ludwig Memorial Scholarship for outstanding achievement in her writing.