It happens so quickly, the men smoking

in the tea shop have only moments

to stub out their Turkish cigarettes.


A mother squeezes her fussing son 

against her breast, his whimpering inaudible 

beneath the bombs’ sizzle and thud.


Tracers thread the slightly cloudy sky

as scooters and sputtering trucks speed south. 

Rise Up! the graffiti urges, but by evening 


every sensible person has fled. The cratered

streets are empty now in Qamishli,

the shopfronts shuttered in Hasakah.

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