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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



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