by Jules Ignacio

In the dark, the reconnaissance units
spread out on the mountaintop—the stage—
gawking at the riots, with their sniper eyes.

____ below looks like a storm of dust and death,
dancing with peripheral flares that light the city
underneath the rubble.

A person on a rooftop close to them chants.
These are the rules of engagement: they shoot
the person who walks like a shadow, a silhouette

already dead in documents. Before getting shot,
he seemed to be raising his hand to his head, looking
sideways, going back and forth, like a person sending
information back, his body facing the soldiers north of him.
When they went back to ____, one of the commanders
debriefs, in the midst of artillery noise,

you don’t realize how lucky you are to have actually fired in an operation. That hardly ever happens. You are so lucky. Whether he was armed or not does not matter. This is the nature of defence.

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