After the War

Now that the guns are quiet

the hills awaken, don green clothing

 

Now that the missiles cease their roar

the birds hop out of hiding places

make short trips over still smouldering trunks

 

Now that the air begins to clear

patches of blue appear

damage assessors arrive, inspect, measure

jot inscriptions in notebooks, make calculations

 

Now that the guns are quiet

children emerge from shelters

kick balls, ride bicycles, flip skate boards

 

The grocery store restocks its rows

of yoghurts, cheeses, fruit and vegetables

 

Now that the guns are quiet

deep in the ground, fingers make tallies

count bodies, dust off prayer books

draw up lists, encrypt messages, mark maps

 

An army of ants crawls from hidden cracks

warriors carry shiny new weapons

wasps begin the task of hive reconstruction

black and red hieroglyphics

 

Now that the guns are quiet

lilting cadences cry out from turrets

calling the faithful to prayer

 

Now that the guns are quiet

somewhere in a cave

a skull winds a turban in coils

hiding thoughts, hiding plans

 

Until all that remains visible

is a sharp beard and a pair of flat eyes

unfurling from the gloom

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© Johnmichael Simon

2006

.