Today again. Smoke charred throats
suffocating. The moment we thought nothing of
only moments before.
The moment we thought was sacred as spring
light filtering through young leaves
shimmering halos above children’s heads
along the route exploded.
A sound too large to be heard.
A sound the whole body processes.
Worse than the noise-canceling
when noise returns
and the carnage is unleashed in full stereo.
Searching for words
to center our bodies
our souls in zero-gravity,
thankfully we have no frame of reference.
Only metaphors offer rafts in this turbulence.
It’s Beirut out here, we say
We recall the debris and trance
of distant foreigners
tragedy outside our own language
staring at us from photographs and far away.
Today again. In Baghdad.
And at a wedding in Afghanistan.
Smoke charred throats. Spring light suspended.
Before the time-swallowing sound,
the moment was sacred there too,
marked hopefully on a calendar.
Before they were metaphors
they were someone’s city.
They were a lovers’ beach,
a weekly market visit, a daily drive home.
Before they were victims, before we were victims,
we were beloveds.
Before you were a survivor,
you were someone’s light.