Kandahar

We bend, we sway into the forms of trees until our necks, Giraffes and sinewy, reach the indiscernible light.
The echo of voices indistinct 
Like the steady beat of drawling distant bells
Intone a low and steady rhythm
That permeates my being, 
That crushes my very sense of balance

Throwing me off my feet, my feet which were like a ladder 
For me, letting me climb, pulling me ever upward 
Yet, I cannot even topple now
Teetering off balance would imply there had been balance
It is gone. 
My movements, deer like and swift, now encumbered 

I have felt the pain of too many. 
Too much; Blood in my ears; Blood in my mouth
Smoother surfaces now, where once tall and sturdy I stood. 
Blades running, blades of grass, metal, skin, and bone, flew like so many feathers, from a startled bird 
That bird now flightless, and plucked to the pink of his puckered skin, laid before all the others guts gouged out, dimpled and effusing entrails, tasty as cottage cheese

I think, I feel, I intone, to myself, the one word that comes so easily to me now: 
Useless.
Small children come and stand over me, pointing and staring, giggling and crying

Not for me, but at me. I am encircled at first with a sea of sadness and then, self-pity becomes self-loathing. 
My being is steeped in this. 
At once, I change, and the movement is subtle, unseen by others but deeply buried within

I don’t know why or how it all turns. 
Becomes this vile, angry, twisted thing. 
This being, I cannot remember or recognize.
All I see is blood. All I taste is blood.

Instead of protector, these lambs around me, these trusting ones with doleful eyes, glassy and admiring, become prey. 
Reason is gone.
Reason is gone. 
They turn to me, not knowing. 
I hide within myself

I must hide, make myself smaller, make my hunger unknown.
I turn, I turn and see and feel This insatiable heat. which is not love anymore, but this white, hot heat. 
Realization comes fast and furious, like a wet dream from so Many adolescent nights, where I woke to the cool, dank wetness of the sheets; the sour smell of my own jism 

Yet, this is not me. This is not me. I feel it, I do it. I break their bones, many small, frail twigs. I eviscerate them, with my cool surgeon hands. I let my AK 47 do the talking and then the piles and piles (pigs on a spit)I stack them, first the large ones, and then the crowning with the babes…. into that heavenly fire. 
I hope that in their sacrifice (my nightly ritual)they reach the light.  

Blood, Bone, and Stone, Mighty Muse Productions, Copyright © 2013 Aria Ligi, published in Vermillion Literary Journal chapbook 2013

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