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"...placed on individual war graves. Before you left..."
Caesuras imply that the narrator has to pause her thoughts to prevent herself from getting too emotional.
"spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade"
Semantic field of war. The narrator is using military terms to describe every day things because it has affected her forever.
"Sellotape bandaged around my hand, I rounded up as many white cat hairs as I could"
Creates a powerful contrasting image of the boy's injury on the battlefield and cuddling with his cat.
"all my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt"
Extended metaphor of clothing relates to his uniform, showing that the war is underlying in everyday life.
"I was brave, as I walked with you, to the front door"
Irony as the mother is the one being brave to let her son go.
"the world overflowing like a treasure chest"
Simile to represent her overwhelming emotions.
"A split second and you were away, intoxicated."
Metaphor implies he is 'drunk' with the image of nobility and heroism.
"released a song bird from its cage."
Metaphor conveys how she is setting him free to be killed as songbirds are 'easy prey'.
"a single dove"
A symbol of peace, although it probably implies that his only peace is in dying.
"leaned against it like a wishbone"
Simile represents the fragility of her mental state.
"an ornamental stitch"
Another example of the extended metaphor of clothing.
"I listened, hoping to hear your playground voice catching in the wind."
The narrator feels her son was too young and innocent to go to war.