As I quit this lawned campus
where education is private,
two Apaches thunder past,
drilling the sky with decibels.
And I drive home in a harried sweat,
past these hoardings that mask
the face lift of a boarding house,
where study is secondary.
Wondering where their hellfire
might land, I consider how
a father shields his daughters
with a carapace of molten flesh;
how he’s racked by guilt,
because his girls never asked
for factories to fashion numbers
into dust and numbness.
And as the drone subsides,
I’m ashamed of my complicity,
my salary that subsidises missiles
that subdivide casualties.
So I pray for the privacy
of those who convalesce in camera,
jagged windows boarded up
to dissuade all but the saviours.
NEETHA KUNARATNAM’s first collection Just Because (Smokestack, 2018) was highly commended in the Forward Book of Poetry 2020. His second collection is still seeking a home! Recent work has appeared in Poetry London.