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's poems have appeared in many journals, most recently in Okay Donkey, One, and JAMA. He received an NEA Poetry Fellowship a number of years ago, and his debut poetry collection, Bulletproof, was published in 2019 by Jacar Press. Matthew is a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where he lives with his partner. They have two adult sons. Read other articles by Matthew, or visit Matthew's website.