Those Who Stayed

         When the city fell  
around us: sounds like breaking  
crystal and buildings 
                      imploding into ash,
followed by staccato
of helicopters. 
                Airlift 
was a word passed from mouth
to mouth, 
          runner gaining ground. 
And yet, where could we go in a field
bounded 
        by aftershock and lightning 
strike, our mouths stuffed
with sawdust? How
                  could we leave
the stones that marked the birth-
place of our bodies 
                    and where 
we went to sleep at night? 
If you want to learn 
                     our history,
walk among the rows of our dead, neat
as books shelved in a library
                              guarded
by the arms of cypress and pine,
end-papered in moss.

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