"Flowers in Aleppo"

If the children return

with atom bombs for eyes,

bellies filled to brim with indifference

cursing a womb they fell from

burning the eulogies of their ancestors

it is the soil that will pay the price


                when the children return

                having learned to swim in an acid ocean

                believing the stars are scattered omens

                knowing the rattle of mortar fire

                better than voices of their cousins

                will we curse the religion they adopt?


If the children return

in acquiescence with the sky closing

well-adapted to darkness's calloused palms

and have no measure for when day breaks

clothed in skin stitched from their fathers backs

it is the crops that will mourn their ghosts


                when the children return

                with appetites for gunpowder and steel

                when they no longer fear our voices

                because our breath smells of silence

                if they conclude the world sat and watched

                it is their thunder we will have to endure