Overnight Bombing

by Justen Ahren

          “what times are these / when to write a poem about love /
          is almost a crime because it contains / so many silences /
          about so many horrors . . . ”
                                                                              Bertolt Brecht

Above the skyline of the city, an orange flash
black smoke, minarets,

shattering glass I rise and bring my lips to hover
above my lover’s navel, inhale

her sweet, wet morning scent, the alarms, and fires. These things happen at once,
they happen

far from one another and no actors were used in the making.
     The television news
recaps another overnight bombing,

the probable number of casualties, the Dow Jones is up 1%. When I look up, I see
spheres,

clear bubbles floating around my lover’s head, circling her shoulders.
In each, something witnessed,

or televised, or perhaps, too, in real life I saw a girl carrying an
     ember on a leaf
through the gray drizzle of dawn,

blowing upon it to keep it alive. A boy shits in the rubble, a dog sniffs and eats it.
In another bubble,

chunks of snow are rocking down in haloes of streetlight, blending
     with the black avenue
of a woman’s hair. Soldiers slump

in trenches, the snow building on the rifle barrels. A father searches
his grave hands. A wad of paper tumbles

on an escalator. A mother knits her fingers over an open fire. And there are more,
many more. In one, Ash

trees lining the river are strewn with plastic chairs, and clothes.
     A family gathers
around a table in a house with no front wall.

Visible, they eat. In a field, a boy writes his name with a sparkler. He doesn’t
know the bombs his country spends

in other places, he doesn’t know I lay with my lover,
a frightened electricity

flickering in the wires of me. How easy it is to kill
out here among smoldering stumps, in desert cities,

among cows grazing on scraps of cloth, and in here,
the weatherman says we should expect snow

before it changes to rain. And I finish my small violence, occupying her with my
lips,

while the latest scrolls across the screen, twenty four confirmed dead, with the
score of Sunday’s game.