XXXIX from The Arab Apocalypse

When the living rot on the bodies of the dead
When the combatants’ teeth become knives
When words lose their meaning and become arsenic
When the aggressors’ nails become claws
When old friends hurry to join the carnage
When the victors’ eyes become live shells
When clergymen pick up the hammer and crucify
When officials open the door to the enemy
When the mountain peoples’ feet weigh like elephants
When roses grow only in cemeteries
When they eat the Palestinian’s liver before he’s even dead
When the sun itself has no other purpose than being a shroud

the human tide moves on . . .

Etel Adnan, “XXXIX” from The Arab Apocalypse. Copyright © 1989 by Etel Adnan.  Reprinted by permission of Post-Apollo Press.
Source: The Arab Apocalypse (The Post-Apollo Press, 1989)