Moloch, God of War.
The War on Terror, 2001--
Moloch, God of War Another woman and her bundle enter your serpentine line. Forever, you spread your hands over fire to welcome those who feed your pit, the gut under your calf-head crown. They who bring children believe in your blessing. Your blaze engulfs their gifts, etching promises, below stone, in the sand. The woman does not feel her hand sifting the hair at the blanket's edge. Do not lament the child--keep to the winding path. Your priests pass the next offering, her son-- (His name, I wasn't planning to tell you, was Brock. He liked playing football on his Xbox and cooking Thai food, and he was in love with Karen, the neighbor girl who he used to watch from his second story window when she would sunbathe on her patio from his 8th grade year till he shipped off to San Diego, where the girls lack fences.) --Cymbals and drums compound, mesmerize mothers, and swallow a child's last cries. Today, under your jeweled glare, this empty-armed mother turns back, her eyes alight with tears. She smiles, patriotic, proud. Your fire stirs the young soldier's ashes like swirling snow. (It's tacky, I know, to interrupt again and the "swirling snow" should be allowed to linger, but Brock would be angry that you--and by you, of course, I mean me--used snow to describe his death, which was from a cliched I.E.D. and lacked swirling. And how does snow in the desert work? What do you gain from juxtaposition when a Marine's dead? Perhaps the explosion under the truck swirled, but no, no, that's all wrong. I should have ended with his mother and killed the political implications. I wanted to imply that if their platoon had received the armor his CO requested two years ago, he never would have bled out in the sand. That's probably too political. I'll cut all this and end with the biblical context and the swirling snow.)