by David James

Place the world as a backdrop,
alternating from day to night
to day again.
An airliner flies in from the left, then stops
and crashes into the ocean.
A roadside bomb explodes; with all his might,
a father tries to lift a car
off his young daughter. She screams to him.
Russian flags, covered in blood, float high like kites
over eastern Ukraine.
A boy straps explosives on his chest in Kandahar;
six men, stage right, kidnap schoolgirls in nightgowns
and load them into vans; every three seconds a child
walks to center stage and dies of hunger. A man with a cigar
shoots two people, tied and on their knees, picks up the suitcase
stuffed with cocaine, climbs out the window, down
the fire escape.  
                       At the back of the stage,
well-dressed people shuffle across with blinders on,
smiling, drinking bottled water, dropping dollars on the ground.
The music changes randomly
from heavy metal to classical, jazz to new age,
Cajun to salsa to a single drum pounding.
A baby is born, a forest burns, two men kiss,
an elephant drops from gunfire.
the wings fill up with everything
except angels.
David James’ third book, My Torn Dance Card, was published in 2015. His second book, She Dances Like Mussolini, won the 2010 Next Generation Indie book award. He teaches writing for Oakland Community College.

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