February 8, 2013 · By Beth Copeland
When we reach the adamantine gates of Iraq, it's too late to turn back.
"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war."
What do the howling hounds hear that we can't?
The moon sharpens its sword on the Earth's stone.
Palm trees on the shores of the Tigris stand sentinel,
silently releasing sweet dioxide into nightscope green air.
In the mountains Kurdish children shiver beneath battered tents
of plastic sheeting, ravens spread petrol black wings.
We cross desert sands to burning oil wells,
poised on banks of poison water that corrodes everything
but hooves of apocalyptic horses, wheels of humvees and tanks.
When we reach the adamantine gates of Iraq
it's too late to turn back.