The Third of May
by Kenneth Pobo

              Painting by Goya

Blood on hills already red
with poppies. When you try praying,
crows pluck up your words,
fly off. At night, mamelukes,
men with families back home,
crack guns over faces. Your arms
rise above your head. Flesh
must sink to bullet level. The shooters
don’t stop—it’s necessary

to make sure. Behind you,
a city doesn’t shake or fall. Buildings
look as they did yesterday.
So much looks the same but smells

unbearable. Soldiers have
more work to do.