There are no more people in Yarmouk, only skeletons with yellow skin.

  — Umm Hassan, Syria, 2014

Maybe, the birds have swallowed all the bullets 


and blown up in yellow fumes  

                  reeking of birdsong. 

Maybe, the shrapnel has trailed the birdsong 

                  and followed it to your body.

Maybe, you cupped the gunpowder water

        in your hand, held it close 

and heard the soft crackle of your mother,

beckoning, then slurped every last drop.

Maybe, you’ve been living inside

            the barrel of a gun all this while.

And maybe that is why the only fragrances

you recognize always lead to a bloody 

                rubble, a gunshot home.