ALEPPO

In Aleppo, I saw carnage left by war
and the shepherds who fled
like others down winding dusty roads
carved from centuries of wind and stone.
Here, among the freezes of the Hittites
where myrtle mingles with the dead,
an ancient Syria rises up from its Citadel,
drenched in spume and blood.
Today, the newspapers and television
tell of thousands slaughtered.
Night has spilled its black ink over Syria
but the sun will burn again.
The rug vendors, coffee drinkers, and chess players
will come out into the streets of Damascus,
with their fists raised.
The dry air will celebrate its bleached bones.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina< Burlington, Vermont