Fatimah Asghar


they bomb the country that could be yours.
the people, your could-be cousins, the city
cradled in your dusty memory, years before
the name became synonymous with pain—
the night you wandered too late down the souk
as the sellers closed their shops. & the soap
you got, sandalwood, still wrapped in the fabric
he handed to you, safely in your closet. 
you watch the bombs fall on the tv, on a country 
that has already known war for too long. maybe 
one day, war will be fought through computers
maybe a screen will blink & the life will empty 
out of the eyes of every human in a three block 
radius. maybe we'll write the pain out of war 
& just kill people, gently, when there's too many
or when they're too poor, or too sick, or too hungry. 
but today, we fight war with bombs & today
there are bombs dropped & the limbs of loved 
ones turning to lye beneath the concrete. 
today people die & a country moves away 
from the sense it had yesterday; today people die
& a country loses what it means to be called a country.
in your american closet there is a bar of syrian soap 
gifted to you by a syrian man & you do not know 
if he's still alive, you do not know if he is one
of the refugees your country talks about with such
disgust, you do not know if his pigtailed daughter
still has all her limbs, or if they too, are mixing 
with the concrete & the fire & the ash & the rain
& making something new.