Beyond the river’s violent flow,
the valley rises to mountain peak.
Rains fall like the distant slopes
waiting to be climbed to the clouds.
Wet shirts cling to tired limbs,
tanned for the sun, clutching to stone,
struggling with the rugged path
between thunderclaps and mortar shell.
Bodies drop with the storm amid
the noise, the steel, the fire; all howling.
Blood streams with tributes of dirt.
Remaining breath shivers in the air.
Hands, feet, and knees reach out
for the safety of broken rocks,
sanctuary from the chaos that erupts
in the open, in death’s domain.
Trapped on precarious outcrop,
men turn to another with prayers. Insha’Allah.
The valley rises to mountain peak
above the river’s violent flow.