Mariupol

A swan takes flight, a child begs, a
Crucified militiaman is left to perish
On the sallow steppe; a blind vulture
Roves upon the starless shadow,
Amidst the offal and the bones and

The drowning plains; a cairn of skulls
Its primal lodestar, the scent of blood
Its crimson causeway. Polyphemus still
Groaning, Azovstal towers over the
Annihilated city, the demons howling

In rage, thrice entombed for eternity.
Antichrist soldiers drag a screaming
Woman towards their lair, a grandmother
Weeps, the sky is falling; a man is beaten
Unconscious, beaten once more – and

Then beaten again – until he dies, alone
Amidst the darkness and the remorseless
Cannibals; a lone husky howls amidst
The fading of the half-light, mourning the
Blackened earth – and the loss of man’s

Innocence. A swan pines, a child whimpers,
An explosion rips away the facade of a
Milk-white nave, the tabernacle failing, its
Translucent glass glistening like tears of
Shattered dew; a tank fires inexorably at

The intransigent heathen, a rabid fury imm-
Utable – they who slew their brother – who
Rebelled against the light; thereon gorged
The gods of chaos – the primordial hand of
War. The ghost of Bandera hovers over the

Devastated parapets, his disciples banished
Beyond the burning of the haze, as the
Wraiths of Armageddon cascade in death-
Less night, where white roses bleed red,
And the ancient sun gazes down on Mariupol

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.