MIG-21 Raids at Shegontola

by Mir Mahfuz Ali

Only this boy moves

between the runes of trees

on his tricycle

when an eagle swoops,

releases two arrows

from its silver wings and melts

away faster than lightning.

Then a loud whistle

and a bang like dry thunder.

In a blink the boy sees

his house roof sink.

Feels his ears ripped off.

The blast puffs up a fawn smoke

bigger than a mountain cloud.

The slow begonias rattle

their scarlet like confetti.

Metal slashes

the trees and ricochets.

Wires and pipes snap

at the roots, quiver.

The whirling smoke packed

with bricks and cement,

chicken feathers and nigella seeds.

When the cloud begins

to settle on the ground,

the boy makes out buckled iron rods.

White soot descends

and he finds himself dressed

like an apprentice baker.