Wars fought in books are orderly.
Only dates and figures box suffering between worn covers.
In truth, those who survive remember everything:
those who wept, those with faith, those bearing false witness,
those who refuse to forget. Inventories are taken.
These are the dead.
From war. A family walks the earth to find an unmarked grave.
From hunger. Ruins on a blistered land shiver under a dawning sky.
From grief. Steam rises from a son’s body after a spray of bullets.
Every town, every farm hides something: an anonymous death, a mass killing, ashes from torched houses.
Nothing is forgotten; little is forgiven.
After war’s spasms, only those things eternal remain –
the smell of bread baking in the hearth,
family photographs wrinkled by years of sweat and doubt,
the soft light of a candle on a wooden table in winter
….and all of childhood.