4/4/17 Idlib

Today the birds brought fire to me
pouring over us all in the scorching shadow of a wing and
crumbling like ash when the sun finally came up for breath and
there is fire in my lungs, can you see it, can’t you see –
I can’t see it, only feel it, feel the talons of the birds we never asked for as
they claw at my eyes, my bones, my body and rip it all
from me, charred hands empty and gasping and
the tremor in my skin, shaking, earth shifting shape within
as the ground
pounds to the rhythm
Idlib, Idlib, Idlib
there is fire in the air can’t you smell it –
I can smell it, heat rises, rises with the smoke Os of the silent
yellow haze, lemon pain, it mingles with the
murmur of the birds.

Stephanie Johnston
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