Teresa Mei Chuc sheds light on the violence of war, reflecting on the pencil’s–and the missile’s–ability to both write history and erase it.
“In spite of everything I shall rise again:
I will take up my pencil, which I have
forsaken in my great discouragement,
and I will go on with my drawing.”
– Vincent Van Gogh
A missile is shaped like a pencil –
its long, slender body and pointed
end creates history.
A girl walking down the street
a few steps ahead of her sister and friend,
two medics who were trying to help
injured people, the parked ambulance –
all were annihilated by the same weapon.
Above, drones – silent, unmanned planes.
A metal, predatory bird that shoots a missile
with precision, identifying the colors of a shirt,
the features on a face – the shape of a nose,
the color and length of a mustache.
In a room far away, in another country, a man
sits at a desk and looks at a screen; he strokes
his thick, dark mustache as he carefully
contemplates, then pushes a button.
There is a charred hole in the ground
where the girl once stood.
There are pencils that write and erase,
write and erase, so that there is nothing
to be read on the page. The page blank
as the desert sky, blank as the smooth shell of a drone.
There is a family drinking mint tea
in a living room.
The man holds a cup to his lips,
the glass touches his mustache.
A silent bird hovers above.
In a split second, everyone is dead,
the house is in rubbles – arms, legs,
splattered organs among broken concrete.
Soon, there will be no trace.
Previously published in Mo.
Interested in submitting poetry to The Good Men Project? Check out our guidelines.
Like The Good Men Project on Facebook
Photo by sZXZ /Flickr