Clay and Blood

If they come back they tell
about little children
of the weight of feathers
crawling like snakes
with flat bellies – the envy of many
of those who have bread.

For a bowl of rice
some pick up land mines
risking burials
or prosthetic limbs
for a lifetime of limping.

Everything is being sifted:
ground, water, sky, pocket;
and the distance is measured
through the rifles’ prisms.

With nightmares
they get paid
with screams of companions
mowed and wasted
and with horror stories to tell.

Oh, who invented those triggers
that have prints of fingers?
It’s all about money
and it’s all about lands.

It’s an alien kingdom
and it’s about men of clay
who make war for a living
but in the name of what god?

Mihaela Melnic, born in Romania, lives and writes in Rome, Italy. She is the author of the poetry collection Layers of Rust and Life (2023, Impspired Press), co-author of the poetry and short fiction book Evermore (2021, 17Numa Press). Her work has been published in various literary venues and anthologies. Links to her publications can be found at her website. Read other articles by Mihaela.