Women's Voices Against War

Alison Hawthorne Deming

Rehearsal Space for War

East of Gila Bend two jets release payloads

that billow the desert dirt, rehearsal space for war

is what the desert means to military minds, a meaning

the civilian mind will never understand, as it walks

through the details of the day: buy bananas, check

bank balance, water plants. There is a god that lives

in the weapons, a power that exists in the mind

capable of imagining that to slaughter people

is a just way to solve injustice. What fool or monster

would instruct children to launch bombs upon the bully

terrorizing a crowded playground? To be a fool or monster

is to believe there is only one way. Avenging genocide

is an expensive means of focusing the mind.

The civilian mind rehearses taking in the wounded,

their faces sinking below the reflective darkness

of public memory, taking in the warriors who will own

forever their elation in battle, the pageantry of war

that comes home and joins the ticker tape parade,

the Disneyland soundstage of victory, a word

that cannot disguise suffering - the smoke and blade

fever of destruction that leaves the living to question,

Was it right, what I did? Was it mine, the choice to quit?