The Truceless Wars

among beasts, and among men, are worlds apart.
The pigeon lays down fluttering life to flash
a russet tail. The haddock becomes harp seal,
then polar bear. The squirming termite licked
from a sharp stick awakes to invent tools.
The lamb lies down within the lion, yawns
yellow-fanged, and sleeps. Life struggles to evolve
higher in us, through questioning, toward hope.
But we sow salt. We leave a ground-zero wake
of futurelessness. Take the way a life
devolves from thought to blind mouths in the dust
wasted by semiautomatic fire.
This flesh is foolscap. We think we’re so smart,
but we create nothing, nothing. Nothing.

“The Truceless Wars” from Faster than Light by Marilyn Nelson. Used with permission of the publisher, Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.