I watch you from a noncommittal screen, you
with your arm outstretched in the gray mud, you
with your gaping maw that fumbles in the fresh
water for air, nerves searing deep beneath your
blood in convulsions of toxicity, raw rabid foam
enveloping your crooked teeth, the restless muscles
dancing like maggots devouring a fresh carcass,
the yellow vomit spilling from my lips as I watch
your children suffer in their colorful pajamas.
I hold my breath feeling the burn in my lungs as the
alveoli strain to breathe for you, eyes that try to
compensate for your fixed pupils and focus on
the heavy bodies on top of you, pressing you down
into a time where you once knew peace. I’m coming
to help you, I hear your call in the ozone that separates
us, separates you from me, the space I need to ready
my weapons, load the PBXN-109 in their casings
and post your pictures on the metal, the infliction
of my might, for I am civilized, will come in flashes
of light to exploit your torn flesh, modify it into
incendiary ash on the sand of Khan Sheikhoun.
Jess Granger is a U.S. Army veteran and an MFA student in the Creative Writing program at the University of Texas El Paso.