The Fall of Aleppo
When will the lamb lay next
to the lion and not be eaten?
One day it will happen
but first a lot of dead lambs
and satisfied lions
and distraught ewes
and impotent rams
and heavens just like tonight’s
with billion-degree stars
failing to warm this bitter cold sky.
Somewhere right now
beneath the sun,
children are leaking
into alleyways as silent
as the absence of shells,
like deer into a clearing
at dusk. These haven’t
lain next to lions
I hugged my daughter
tighter. Why’d I do that?
Because her lion is coming.
Tonight, in bed,
and ask why, know
you were lucky. You made it
past the lion. You didn’t get to
rest next to it, twirling its fur
in your fingers like a lover’s hair,
but when you crept by it had already
eaten, or it was asleep, or
had to use the bathroom. Tonight,
a whole dark city, broken
into eggshells, a city with oceans
and mountains, rivers and deserts,
a city of wastelands and new cities
and ancient cities and dust and grass
and pottery and plastic
and peace and the absence of peace,
and terror and tears,
and hills full of lambs
and the fierce wildness of a million
Read more of Adam Hughes’s poetry.
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Photo by Michał Unolt/Flickr