Four Dead In Iraq by JB Mulligan


The cradle of civilization:
killer children.

A burnt arm hangs from wire.

Slavery and savagery
thickened mother’s milk.


How many lives
must a man burn down?…

The answer is dangling in the wind.

The answer is no.


The various rains
that flow in the Euphrates
nourish various grains.

The sowing, the harvest.
The hybrid wheat may come,
bright in the wind and sun.
Flickering in an oven
where bread is baked for breaking.

But that is a different fire.
It has not yet come.


There is no song
for the willfully deaf.
No – the song for them is fire.

There is no song
for the silent
when singing is needed.

Small voices here and there,
hopeful sparks
against the darkness,
as everybody watches, comes and goes.


Whatever spark you blow on,
you do that simply breathing.

The dead will melt for something;
for what is beyond the fire.

The seeds that do not burn
will grow, the grass
will rise in all its armies
so what’s planted may endure.

JB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years, has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from the Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.

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