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Sunday, September 09, 2018


by J. D. Smith

Yemeni children vent anger against Riyadh and Washington as they take part in a mass funeral for the 40 children killed in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition last week. Photograph: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian

“US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus” 
The Guardian, August 19, 2018

At this late date I have accepted
how the rain falls on the just and the unjust,
as does the air-dropped ordnance.

The downpours’ frequency still eludes me.

Another front, another deluge
far from page one, that is,
far from its readers, and we
might ask “What in the actual hell?”
except that it is already on display
by way of a blasted bus and limbs distanced
from their shattered frames.

What’s left of the means is marked
as coming from my country,
yet I don’t remember being asked
if I wanted to contribute, as if many would
outside of an alternate universe
where a collection might be taken up
as for flowers to send a co-worker
in the hospital, such as can no longer aid
those counted in the story.
Instead of “Best wishes” or “Get well soon”
the card might read “Thinking of you”.

J. D. Smith's fourth collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016, and he has received a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science and the children's picture book The Best Mariachi in the World. Smith lives and works in Washington, DC.