Revenge and the Emptiness

Bombings of Bus and UN - August 19, 2003

On this day of death
with the UN compound in Baghdad
and a bus in Jerusalem exploded -
the deadly operatic theme
of infinite revenge
twists through history.
No person no group
immune from the deadliness
of political violence -
bodies torn, shredded and broken.

On a digital screen at Kaiser hospital
I see my skeleton emerge
during a nuclear bone scan.
Strapped to a table preventing movement.
little by little I slide under the camera
my body aching from confinement.
The white macabre bones
hanging together on the black screen.

My life, flesh and mind hung
upon a suit of bones.
The flesh flies through
the exploding air.
The bones delicate like chalk
outlined on a blackboard
to look for a few cells gone awry,
while whole bodies are blown apart
splattered against wall
covered by beams and metal.
There is the emptiness between bones
and the massiveness of flesh and organs.

Our dreams and imaginings
forgotten in the screams
and pain and grief.
The fear of mortality
creeps through bone.
Six billion human minds
trapped in tender bodies
fragile as a dry stick.

How long until our murderous greed
and ignorance tear the sky
and all our dreams are sucked
into the nothingness?

© 2003 Allen Cohen

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