A father sings to his son,
dead two days,
and the platitudes persist.
Widow of night. Lantern’s trick.
What trace, you wonder,
exists of humanity in these etched
walls? Light bleeds through a crack
like rules unheeded and scattered.
Another sheer looming of hours.
The song, continued.
“Aleppo” was first published in Vox Populi in August 2018. I am grateful to editor Michael Simms for his continuing support of my work.
Perhaps the left ventricle, or the anterior descending
vein. No matter which you grab, I’ll not survive
the seizure, but is that not the point? And which coin
will you place in my mouth to ease the passage across
the river Acheron? Or will I remain on the banks,
neutral and overlooked, forgotten. If this river is woe,
I serve its pride. I wear its banner. Do you recall the
butcher’s bill from that last flight? Sixty innocents,
including children. How many more must we tally
before admitting to the futility of perpetual war?
An acquaintance on the ground that day saw the
flash and immediately thought there are no mistakes,
just as I, from my box in Nevada, admitted, too, that no mistakes occur, a synchronicity joined in death
and its production. I no longer employ euphemism.
When my coworker’s eyes crinkle and he laughs
about weeding the lawn of fun-sized terrorists,
I see bloody children, mangled flesh, smoke and
flame. I kill from comfort and afar. This is my life.
* * *
“Take Another Piece of My Heart” was published in Ligeia’s Winter 2019 edition. Many thanks to poetry editor Ashley Wagner for taking this poem. I’m also grateful to Tami Wright for providing the title and sponsoring “Take Another Piece of My Heart” in the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 fundraiser.