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The air smells different.

The air smells different. Change is creeping from the shadows. Light lasts a little longer. Noises are magnified.

There is a peace I hug tightly, afraid to lose it.

War took it from me, wrenched it from my grasp. Made off with it. I thought I ‘d said goodbye to it forever. It was hiding waiting till it was safe to come back to me.

I will never erase the sights I’ve seen from my memory. Humans who will never be whole again. Rag doll bodies piled up like rubbish. A plaything population for invaders. Age no barrier to disrespect. Consent a dead language.

The smells that consumed my nostrils may be gone but I have not forgotten them. The fires that burned long into the night taking whatever the bombs had not destroyed from the structures of our history.

The screams of anguish grew muffled over time. Silent acceptance minimised the brutality. Lessons painfully learnt.

Touch has lost its reassurance. Caresses turned to force removed the trust we had in one another. Lack of resistance bored them. Those without fight less pestered than those who attempted to cling to dignity and choose their bedfellows. The vulnerable sought and damaged. Their defenders eliminated or subject to increased abuse.

Our liberation came at a cost. This country is no longer ours. It belongs to our liberators. Unmartyred invaders retreated. Punishment will not reset this place or its people.

We will rebuild. We will live in a form of peace. The present an improvement on the recent past. Our wish for days gone by, a remembrance.


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