What remains besides the ruins —
the yet unsettled concrete
dust reddening eyes
the way chemicals in snipers' arsenals turn insides out —
is little space
in the hospital wards
where the whistles before the thuds
the risk of entering Aleppo
knowing what to expect
queueing for bread, coin in hand,
body to floor, glass shattering
your chance to get out.
Bombs land where they do
when you stand
anywhere in the street
smoke's plumes coiling, thickening what rises
from bakery ovens, the damage that leaves
lace hanging in windows and gunpowder burns
on refrigerator doors,
tea cups still on a shelf,
their owners gone.
The chances you take
you realize when you're alive,
are left standing
in a kitchen in a neighborhood in Aleppo
where everyone is a target
you take in cold blood,
the rescue train of hands reaching
from that side of the street to yours.
Look. You say
I made it before
the power was cut.
© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas
This poem is inspired by photographs of and recent reporting on the horrendous ongoing civil war in Syria and, in particular, in Aleppo. Of special note are the images by Narciso Contreras (caution: the photographs are graphic) who has documented with courage and at great risk to himself the truth of this war.