Beirut, Lebanon, 1975—1990
The first time you see me, there will be gunfire.
Then sunlight breaks like glass
over unoccupied space.
So I am born from the mouth of a bullet hole,
and Lebanon’s burnt shell offerings
Nothing grows from me except the dead
who knuckle through the street,
scraping through shrapnel,
the broken vertebrae of a country.
I carry their wounds for miles,
a thin, green sail:
the rigid trunk of a soldier,
branches sprouting where rifles once
rose, leaves shuddering
like white flags.
This stand of trees like a cesarean scar.
This dust-blown shade of division.