Someone Else’s War

— Barbara Saxton

Church bells rang out in the Netherlands.
Planes carrying forty wooden coffins
taxied to sorrowful gates filled with friends,
spouses, relatives, waiting to claim
what remained of loved ones
who had rotting for days on a field in Ukraine:
victims of someone else’s war.

Forty coffins and hearses. Dutch flags
at half-staff. Young Bryce and his Daisy’s
eternal honeymoon. AIDS researchers destined
to save no more lives.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, rebels unfazed
by someone else’s tragedy fought hard
to hold onto the doomed jet’s resting place.
Thousands of miles West, in Gaza,
the death toll topped seven hundred,
many of them children, as ceasefire pacts
exploded, like schools, churches
and hope.

The newspaper that landed
in my safe suburban driveway
seemed heavier than usual today.
When I opened its pages, innocent souls
fluttered out into another perfect California
summer day.

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