On your knees now ! How much can you give ?
What you got left ? Let your mouth touch the ground
that’s it closer, until the sand, papers your lips
and stings the white of your eyes
Your body sags with GRIEF, she clamps you to her chest
can you hear the sound of tanks ?
smell the stench of human sweat ?
and feel the dry desert heat ?
Louder ! Louder! There’s foot soldiers on the march
and the hurrr of the Humvee
so close, elephant wheels treading tik -tik flies and
that stick to the tyres, a crusted blood ballet of
wing tips, antennae and thorax
Thumpety Thump bump bump
your jaw locks -body shock
spasms like wasps on jelly,
a flea crawls in your inner ear
biting, sniping a morass of fear
head crack -snap back
your voice entombed in saffron sands.
Illustration: Elena Caldera