The Enemy

by Alex Rettie

England, 1950

These are the men who set Milan on fire –
mild and pale and rustling their papers as
the train takes us past fields of grazing sheep
and timbered cottages whose thatched roofs an
incendiary attack would burn right down.
They say that Coventry – where I’ve been sent –
was badly hit. The Luftwaffe's bombers
laid the whole city waste in just one night.
I hope it’s true. I hope its young mothers
ran between flames and falling bricks, crying
for children they would never find.

Alex Rettie is a Canadian poet and book reviewer who writes from the top floor of a rented house in Calgary, Alberta, His work has appeared in journals in Canada, the US, and the UK, including Raceme, One Art, the lickety-split, Queer Toronto, ellipsis, and Passengers Journal.