W for War


In school today, my nephew learns the alphabet:
U for Umbrella, V for Van, W for War.
My nephew now repeats this new word to me;
the first syllable set in surprise––forming an 'o' with innocent lips
––open wide enough for a gun to fill the gap
the last syllable, a free bird rising to the roof of his mouth
only to drop dead to the surface of dreadful punctuation.
A period, of violence.
What is war if not a word phrased and punctuated in history?
My grandmother saw war when she was 12 in Madras.
She said that she slept next to her brother every day
because she didn't want him to be taken away.
Because all wars end in death.
W for War: a miserable poem,
disguised and discussed as glorified prose.
If today, my nephew learns that ‘B’ is for ‘Border’,
I want the teacher to define the border
as, “a line of bodies, bombed.”
Re-write the alphabet, define it, say it, repeat it.
Some things we learn are simple facts:
the sun rises in the east, the earth is round, war is wrong.
There is never an excuse, only fact.
Tell me, do they teach facts in the parliament?

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