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Monday, April 10, 2017


by Promise Li

USS Ross firing a Tomahawk missile towards the Shayrat Airbase base. —U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released via Wikipedia.

As of March 28, 2017 [i.e. prior to the firing of 59 Tomahawks that reached Shayrat Airbase], the U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 19,300 strikes (11,460 Iraq / 7,840 Syria). —US Department of Defense

While the attack [in Idlib Province on Tuesday] was among the deadliest uses of chemical weapons in Syria in years, it was far from an isolated case. During the war, the Assad government has been accused of regularly using chlorine gas, which is less deadly than the agent used on Tuesday and is legal in its commercial form. According to the Violations Documentation Center, an antigovernment watchdog, more than 1,100 Syrians have been killed in chemical weapons and gas attacks. —The New York Times, April 5, 2017

They say sarin flies high,
when it touches
turns lungs into deadlocks;
instead of death,
knots cough death into tedium.

Do you remember the last time—
No: only then knots were not yet familiar
only to think they know,
but the rhythms don't add up;
fit for numbers then,
now elegies unnumbered,
and where were the answers when
gory and mute drooling cool poison,
sirens unsounded, not songs but only
tuneless coughs unmourned.

Last time
remembering to triple-knot
those shoes
as not to trip bloody.

Promise Li studies early modern literature at Occidental College and is also a socialist activist in Los Angeles.