WAR: Marawi Siege

1 March 2018

For the AFP’s Women Pilots and for Yuko Olga Kirsten, 7.

The helicopters fly low during the day.
Yuko Olga Kirsten (she’s seven!) waves
at the unseen Good Men, teal and dark green
iron birds camouflage their faces.
In the air, the sound of the turning blades
Keeps Iligan sane.

We’re at war but we must trust
Good men in Fatigues to push back
Evil Men in Black.

At the war zone,
Scared souls, rosary beads around their necks
Crawl, dodging sniper bullets
Whizzing past concrete buildings. At noon,

another helmet flies in the air,
severed head and rosary race for the sky,
one more Good Man falls, drops among the heap.
Starving dogs gnaw at human flesh –- in the heat.

Our wish is for women pilots to fly the jets
Comfort us before we sleep.
We know what comes after the bombings
flying objects’ roaring loudest at dawn.

All the grandfathers, Little Boy, Fat Man and Thin Man
Would’ve squirmed when the bombs
settle at the lake’s bed.
But, when bombs hit home, invisible
Particles keep us smiling and coughing.

Before bed, I pray for the women pilots’
precise moves. In their hands,
Dying Men in Black know well their fates,
death from women pilots keep close
Heaven’s gate.

Listen well, little girl. Fighter jets are back.
And the cycle begins. We call it, in three letters
out of the alphabet’s 26 — W-A-R.

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