War Declared by Jessica Goody

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


The blue-eyed boys have gone off to war.
Those eyes are hollow now
with what they have seen.
It is a permanent Blitz,
the whistle of bombs filling the air
instead of the springtime serenity of bird calls.

The birds have fallen silent,
huddled in their nests like people in a bomb shelter,
clutching knees to chins, whispering prayers
punctuated by explosions, bursts of red
that might be flames, fallout, a burning building,
or the burst aneurism of a body blown apart, stricken by bomb or land mine.

God was not there on that day,
The day when men emerged from the rubble,
blinking like moles, resembling
miners in Yorkshire, faces blackened with silt
in an Al Jolson parody, eyes wide and blue
amidst the darkness.

They have seen those they love rendered robotic
by shock and bitter memories,
their eyes blank and colorless,
images repeating, flashing in the mind’s eye
like reruns on a television screen:
a Mobius strip of noise, smoke, screams, blood.
Broken bodies glazed like dying fish,
stiffening where they have fallen.

Missiles fall like hailstones,
leaving comet-tails of orange and blue in the sky,
fireworks spraying colors of violence instead of celebration.
An ocean of smoke obscures the world,
rendering it breathless and blind.

Crushed beneath the rubble,
Men scream, ants stricken beneath shoe leather.
The buildings which once sheltered them
are now perilous sculptures of broken glass,
crumbling brick, shards of concrete.
Bodies scream like bombs as they plummet
to their deaths miles below.
The whistle of a cannonball
and the wet thuds of broken bones,
bodies shattered and pulped by the magnetism of gravity.
The Doppler effect cannot distinguish whether the death rattle
is the scream of the victim or the wind.


Jessica Goody’s work has appeared in the anthologies Timepieces, Seasons of Change, Moonlight Café’s Poetry By Moonlight, Songs of Sandy, Bards Annual 2013, Voices Israel 2013, The Sun Magazine, The Sun City Packet, Spectrum, PrimalZine, Kaleidoscope, SunSations Magazine, Cyclamens and Swords, the blogs Tiny Buddha, Little Eagle's Re\Verse, Getting Along with Grief, Addictive Fiction, Riot Grrl Online, and Poetica Magazine. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Lucidity Poetry Journal International Competition and was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize Competition. She has written two volumes of poetry and a mystery novella and is seeking their publication. She is currently at work on her first novel.