fallow field, hallowed whore

the fields lie fallow,
the wells dry,
the market quiet.

where do the good boys go
when there is no seed to plant in the fields?
where do the good girls go
when there is no wheat to make into bread?
is it war that has taken them?
a foreign army that has ransacked the city?
have the walls been burned,
the mothers and fathers killed,
and the children taken as slaves?
were it so, pity, maybe even mercy,
would be warranted.
yet,
the cities are safe,
there has been no war,
no army to fight,
no fire to put out.
the walls stand strong,
and the army is ready and in good order.

the children run around like rats,
like pigs they feast on anything,
enrtrails, scraps, and blood.
they play in the mud,
they flirt with the mire.
their bellies are full,
their bodies weak.
mother never cooked dinner
that father never caught,
though the forest teems with life,
and the rivers flood the banks with fish for lack of room.

but the whorehouses do not turn any man away.
“welcome”, “come and see”, “taste, and have your fill tonight,”
they cry out.
father traded his gun for a whore.
his seed meant for the ready ground
is now planted in the butcher’s garden.
we have not seen mother since the day father left.
a local vinedresser,
with a smooth tongue and sweet bombast,
offered her a sip of his wine,
and she has been drunk ever since.

the older children remember the former days.
they gather seed from the wayside
and plant wild things,
not knowing what they are,
not knowing they are planting death.
the girls try and nurse the infants,
left behind and abandoned,
but their breasts are empty,
motherhood lurks in the shadows of their minds.
the newborns will not survive the winter.
left without war,
no plow to work the ground,
the boys fight each other.
young blood is spilled easier by young minds.
no bread to win,
surely they will win renown.

the girls turn sheds into brothels,
every yard is a field of blood,
every darkened room
stained by the presence of iniquity.
father cannot punish us,
and mother does not care.
we do not call it war,
we call it work,
every boy punches the clock
before punching his brother.
we do not call them brothels,
we call them homes,
every girl sweeping and dusting
as if the windows weren’t boarded up.

father, come home.
mother, please wake up.
the house is flooded,
and the water rises quickly to our ears.
so we decided to make it a swimming pool.

swim at no risk,
for tomorrow you will die.

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