You Lie Beside Me And Ask Do I Still Dream by Cath Campbell

I am not a silent poet

Tonight, I wake the early hours,
and ship out to Al-Madina.
Medieval square and lost alleyways
teem with countless bodies
selling wares, or wiling time
on cards and pungent teas,
the smell of spice urgent and alive.

In translucent sky so blue it hurts,
a hunting hawk-wing hurtles down,
edges the sun, shits its load.
I blink, and in that eye-dark click
the ancient souk explodes,
and time and heaven hold hard
as ears shock of burst drums.

I kneel above the rubbled citadel.
Smoke burns, heaves me sick.
Sound returns in the mouth
of a screaming legless dog,
Its hairless torso dragged,
still chained and fire encased,
from behind a block of brick.

A man, reduced by a femur, a tibia
with tatters of a leather sandal
that had not escaped unscathed,
cries, and one bright patterned shirt
mourns, forlorn, an empty space,
as it molds into the molten…

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