Dresden I

(February 13-14, 1945)

                                                         For Sonja Brie

In a city whose builders have withered and gone,
caustic clouds creep over faces stricken by shrapnel.

In the streets riddled with burning people,
trees unveil their height and grandeur,
children peel the darkness, grasp a laugh or a scream.

Behind doors, people loiter to warm their limbs,
and faces drenched in blood monitor shadows being erased
by a swinging light in whose expanse planets collide and vanish.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
March 10-13, 1995