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.