War for Dinner

             ~After “Photograph of the Girl,” Sharon Olds

War is redefined
as the city breaks.
Death is a news flash.
Destruction, a televised event.

The privileged
flip and pan.
Loose propaganda is gold
they recite at dinner.

Here: young girls shift
and reach for less food across
the dinner table. The men
argue and the boys kick.

There: young girls hide under tables,
cradle their knees, rock fast
against splitting cement. The men
fall dead and the boys run.

Soldiers with foreign tongue
circle the city—fast vultures,
instinct blackened.
Boots crackle shattered window.

There: the city cramps, presses
young wombs ready.
The young girls brink, they pass
over without their mothers.

Here: the young girls bleed
on satin cushions.
They excuse themselves and shame
is passed by their mothers like a dish.

Sarah Lilius