Rachel Bower: Sheffield to Aleppo, November 2016

Symbolic gravestone for the murdered children of Syria
Symbolic gravestone for the murdered children of Syria

It’s only a firework I whisper
thumb tucked into her palm

but her eyes reflect a spark
that tells me that somewhere

she knows this isn’t quite true –
that a shot can echo when stars skim seas
that shrapnel can whistle through waves
screeching fear in bruising skies

and I stroke floss hair and sweet bun cheeks
damp from steam, breathing milk
and I ache for it only to be fireworks

for thumbs in the dark to be enough
to stop glazed buns cracking in the dust
for shells that spill only golden fish
for grazes that heal with the fizz

of a rocket and I kneel
in the night and feel her sleep.





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