Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Last Doctors in Aleppo, June 2014 — Ann Struthers

-for Angelique and V.

Before coral, pearl, mother of pearl,
before the chambers of the nautilus,
millions of ancient trilobites crinoids,
all the little limestone shells compressed
for centuries by the weight of water.
Then lifted up, cut, carved into the city of Aleppo,
Halep, milk of Abraham’s cow,
now blasted into flight
by mortars, bombs,
brachiopods flying above the birds.

Everything must be at war, trying to kill.
The last two doctors binding up the mounds
flee now to the mountainswWith their three little girls.

Only the sun is neutral;
even the moon betrays,
moving a black shadow,
a broken tree,
a broken country.

Even the broken stones weep.

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