World at War

Oladipo Agboluaje

Looking out to a city
ravaged by industrial fires,
set ablaze with waste from far-flung
dumps, booking their urban flights
by chance of wind to all
destinations where life exists -

The river seems clear tonight.

I can see panting fish of fine
discoloration declaring
that beyond the clarity
lies something murky, deeper
than the fisherman's will,
wider than the trawler's net

Perhaps there is still time to call
time on this war and retreat
from the white flag now sailing
at half-mast. Then we might
not mistake the children's coughing
for laughter. And strong men might
temper the tightness of their
lungs, young women the measure
of their breathing and elders
the volume of their tears

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