The Bombing of Beautiful Birds
After Matt Merritt
In the drone slums
a blue niqab fell in the shape of the Euphrates
her child became the pallor of an orphan in a split second.
All the children spray out from stone like trapped dandelions,
as if sun itself had decided to struggle out through bomb cracked pavements.
In the marshlands they made a proverb from a reed-warbler they found a-wander,
they taught their children that there are two types of interventions -
the first is American where they bomb the beautiful birds,
the second is Saleen who found and nursed the warbler,
even the egg bandits sliced lemons for grey water.
Long ago in Massachusetts,
they loaded grey squirrels in maple cages for grand English mansions,
when oaks wept acorns the greys would devour them all.
In time the reds ran like sudden blood and buzzards picked them off,
this was the thin red line like blood in Iraqi rivers snaking back to green.
In the marshlands of the Euphrates undammed water returned from imprisonment,
a long oarsman stabbed the riverbed as the surge took him by surprise,
balancing like the one-legged bird in silhouette he stayed afloat.
This was how they knew the war was over for a while,
the egg bandit returned to his calling of wood carvings.

Antony Owen

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Antony Owen  would be pleased to hear them.