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Bruce Curley

Screaming Like a Banshee

My wife screams like a banshee
to cover wailing with neutral sound
when my toddler Eamon fights her
and refuses to take a nap.

I hear Grandmom Curley screamed
like a banshee when the telegram arrived
from the War Department in 1945
to tell her the oldest, Frank, the one
who was supposed to be the Jesuit,
instead had been killed in action
when the Japanese ack-ack
turned his B-24 into a fireball
on his 39th mission over Haha Jima
in an ocean grave in the South Pacific.

Grandmom Curley screamed
like a banshee for weeks
until they hooked her up
and shot electricity through her brain
to cover wailing with neutral sound.
She never screamed like a banshee again.

Instead, she wailed so deep down for 20 years
because the hole in her heart was so vast,
laughter was no longer a planet in her galaxy
and the only way people would describe her was,
“She was never the same after Frank died in the Pacific.”