Waging Peace

by Pat Winslow

after Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Gunpowder Art’

the rumour
unfurled like ink in water
that a ten day-war was imminent

on the first day
we woke to small gifts on our graves
rice and apples, toys and books and slices of cake

on the second day
100,000 cherry trees were planted on the border
that our divisions might blur to pink year on year

on the third day
an arrow fell to earth
with a single red flower attached

on the fourth day
we decided to retaliate with socks and jumpers
and our men sat up all night under the stars knitting

on the fifth day
neighbouring countries joined in
with blankets and hats and coats and scarves

on the sixth day
a child flew a kite in the sky
and dared the whole world to join in

on the seventh day
a boat of arrows was floated
into the middle of every lake and set fire to

on the eighth day
the gift of water was declared universal
and commemorative cups were cast in clay

on the ninth day
we lit up the sky with poems in every language
and nobody went to bed hungry that night

on the tenth day
we claimed the sun and moon as currency
and the sea and earth their rightful inheritors