They said he’d returned
but we couldn’t find him in this stranger
embattled awake and asleep,
blows are buffered by blankets, collaterally damaged
and bruised eyes have cause to weep.
The children hope to escape notice, crawling low
under barbed wire words until strikes from above cease.
And the scene reverts to every day.
We creep from cover, daddy’s taken pills.
And I tell them: Daddy still loves us, he’s just a little ill.
Here, he is found. With us,
casualties in war of attrition. We are the shell-shocked
reborn as flowers smiling through the battlefields.