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A Requiem in a Time of War

Do you hear them falling?

Do you feel as if the ground is trembling? It should —

the weight of each blood drop should shake the very earth.

Alas, the proof of this follia is nothing so grand, which we might heed; it is dust.

Dust of all we built, dust of all our dreams.

 

Do you hear them falling?

Open your eyes; these are not soldiers who fight.

They are the people of this land, held by honour and a fierce, fierce pride.

Maybe they are soldiers, after all.

Do you hear them falling?

 

They do not march to war; they wait, quiet, teeth bared at the dark.

Defiance, an impossible defiance, as the wind carries upward

that same old war-song of histories forgotten (who wants to live forever anyway),

their final revolutionary étude.

 

And we,

we, who are witness,

are helpless but to sing our own meagre lament, this dirge

of endless sorrow and endless triumph,

a litany of tales to break your heart.

 

War is without victor.

 

We never pray to kind gods

 

and war is ever without victor.

Ribhav Thakur is an amateur Indian poet and verse is his way of expressing emotions too complex for mere prose. His credentials in English Literature are roughly none, as opposed to his qualifications in other fields, which are far more exact in their nihility.

Ripple

with thanks to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Grateful Dead, and Haim Watzman

 

“And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:2

 

I was walking

On the wooden footbridge

Over the marshes

In the Hula Nature Reserve

One late-summer Friday morning

When I looked down and saw a

Ripple in still water.

 

I was astonished.

 

What, I wondered, could it be?

What could produce a

Ripple in still water

When there is no pebble tossed

Nor wind to blow?

 

I pondered the question.

 

It must, I reckoned, be

The spirit of God

Moving upon the face of the water.

 

What else could it be,

 

Here,

In the African-Syrian Rift,

The crack in the Earth

Into which the Heavens

Pour their secrets,

 

And now,

In the month of Elul,

When the King is in the field

And the Divine Presence is accessible

To all who yearn to be touched by It?

 

I trembled in awe.

 

And a turtle poked his head up

From under the water

And grinned.

 

First published in Nine Mile Magazine.

Pesach Rotem was born and raised in New York and now lives in Yodfat, Israel. His poem “Professor Hofstadter’s Brain” was nominated for a Best of the Net Award.

Dublin ’16

I

Before they add the 3

I catch a comedy

at the Olympia Theatre.

Shun Row 1 for 2

in hopes of evading notice.

Avoiding participation.

But night of, the seat in front

of mine remains unfilled.

So our eyes still meet.

 

II

By the time I detect

my shadow, we are across

the street from my hotel.

I speed up. So does he.

Gravel crackles beneath our

feet. Through glass, security

catches my eye; straightens.

Sweeps me in as I approach,

shuts the door after me

without hesitation.

We exchange nods.

 

III

Bedside, a pair of cheap

foam earplugs in neon yellow.

I pick one up; flatten it between

my index finger and thumb.

It springs back, swells with

drunken revelry beyond

the window. I plug my ears

and close my eyes.

Allison Thung is a writer from Singapore. She writes so she can remember and forget. Her poetry has been published in Eunoia Review, Better Than Starbucks, and The Drabble. Website: www.allisonthung.com.

The End of Summer

The smell of smoke and acid thins

on the wind as warm breezes

blow softly, taking them away,

from the desert.

 

Far away to sea.

 

The lost spoils of war lie

scattered all around. Buried in the

shifting sands. Lives shattered

wait in hope for a better

day. It will surely

 

come our way.

 

A child of the new generation

that yearns to hold onto this new

thing yet undefined looks up at

the skies and smiles.

 

He knows.

 

First published in Dove Tales.

Shirani Rajapakse is an award-winning Sri Lankan poet and short story writer. Rajapakse’s work appears in Litro, Silver Birch, Linnet’s Wings, Mascara, Moving Worlds, Berfrois, Buddhist Poetry, and About Place.

The last of what we will take

We’d woken up a thousand times, reeling from the stench of the future,

and travelled to meet our absence there, like old friends,

 

part a personal folklore missing limbs for floral embellishments

and mustard yellow tincture for open gashes,

 

part the dreamy soot of some land we swore we never came from,

yet which sharpened the apices of our faces.

 

And we would return

 

with beaded beetle heads for irises, drowning as they rose, the only living

things among the crusty fossils

 

of (what had been) our animorphic [sic] existence.

 

And we would remind ourselves

 

the last of what we will write (and take) of one another:

 

remembering is when you canoe into the hollowed clavicle of a leaking

memory, shutting the whistling air in

 

with the vacuous immensity of your longing, a mercenary vessel phasing

in and out as humans do, between deaths,

 

and sealed passageways.

Kalyani Bindu is an Indian writer and researcher, and author of Two Moviegoers. Her poems and essays have appeared in Better Than Starbucks, Ethos Literary Journal, New Asian Writing, Variant Literature Journal, Madras Courier, Muse India, Modern Literature, and others.

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