And so I came to lie in this bed—
no field of battle churned
by troops and shells and tanks.

I am as strange as a grenade tossed
into a church, synagogue or mosque,
as a roiling cloud of burning smoke
and dust where a tower should stand.

People here love me like this:
dirty and dented, my work undone.
See how they kneel and touch me,
hoist me away like an old grandmother.

So much thought went into creating
me, and I was manufactured
and delivered with all due diligence,

but something wrong with me is
what went right. I am the negative of these
times, as unexpected as the orders
given when mercy is what was called for.

• Poem inspired by news article: “Family Survives an Israeli airstrike that hit their home in Khan Yoounis”

Matthew Murrey is the author of Bulletproof (Jacar Press, 2019) and the forthcoming collection, Little Joy (Cornerstone Press, 2026). Recent poems can be found in The Ekphrastic Review, Roanoke Review, ballast and elsewhere. He was a public school librarian for 21 years, and lives in Urbana, IL with his partner. His website is at https://www.matthewmurrey.net/ . He can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bluesky under the handle @mytwords. Read other articles by Matthew, or visit Matthew's website.