Hate is in the air.

It rasps down the alleys of a city of chimneys.

You heard the leitmotif; the chorus of cries,
warnings, curses, prayers; the droning crescendo;
the percussion; the slide-whistle whines—then
the silence leaving you a few measures
for your last solo in this symphony.

It scatters blinding shards of light off melted glass.

This was a special. You could watch it live
from the eye of a kamikaze rocket ship.
You saw the roofs heave themselves toward you
like nine point eight per second per second
was too timid, too long to wait
for the phosphorous fireburst.
Fade to static, cue soothing voice-over.
Just buildings you could've seen on any block.
There's no reason not to change the channel.

It ruffles an eight-year-old's birthday rags.

she's sleeping she's resting she's
closing her eyes to think to tell
you what's happened and why and who
would do this would make it so
you can't feel your fingers can't find them and
let the man with the foreign face point his box
at her when she's of course she's just she's just
sleeping just sleeping just will wake soon.

It dusts the busted rotten-melon rind of a mother's skull.

This is how we decline the pronouns 'she' and 'he' into 'it.'

This is how we push buttons, pull triggers,
sink beneath body-shaped sacks on stretchers,
tapefaces with desperate subtitles to fences,
leave backpacks under café tables,
leave landmines under soccer fields.

This is us—sons of Eve, daughters of Adam,
trying to rewrite the family tree.

This is the Mystery—why we would ever
guarantee our plots of Paradise
with a wealth of corpses.