The Bomb That Didn’t Go Off

Bricks separated from rubble,
the man who picked them out sits there weeping. Next door an undemolished building, with the occasional shouts of children playing indoors.
And…There. There’s a man full of hate and other people’s thoughts with his fingers tight around the neck of a gun.

All night the bombs fall, four days into the latest curfew. Mercenaries ring the rooftops, hungry families stay indoors. These are the parts of Damascus that refuse to let go.

198 killed, 41 wounded. 32 killed, 74 wounded. 71 killed, 3 wounded. Another bomb. Another number with a name. The building next door, a neighbour, friend, another friend, your car, your only way out.

Damascus opens its shutters and carefully peers out below, grateful to have been spared but wondering when, when, when – fearing most of all the bomb that hadn’t fallen, that simply hovered above their lives. A constant state of sudden terror, jumping at the noise they didn’t hear, thought they heard, holding their breath, saying a prayer, counting the unticked seconds. They look out but dare not look up.

A nearby street cracks and roars and the sound of gunshots tears through living rooms and makeshift bedsits. The next day the shutter opens and a piece of Damascus is missing. They can see other buildings now visible, standing where they shouldn’t be, as though stepping out and waiting. They know who lives inside them now. They know who used to live nearby.

Two hundred thousand people have died this way. An entire country has been robbed.
And the world looked on. 9.5 million people have fled their homes. Cities have been swallowed through by hate. And the world looked on. Schools were soaked in napalm, children choked or burned. Those that survived were left shaking uncontrollably and crying out ‘How? How could they bomb us while we were at school?’. Syria was imprisoned, Syria starved, Syria was tortured night after night, Syria died, two hundred thousand times.

And the world looked on, did nothing
and the bomb went off and
they said nothing felt nothing heard nothing

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