they wax endlessly poetic about her but make no mistake, the beauty is merely gilt, a sorry apology for the mutilations driven so deep as to crack new limbs through her body. you will ask her, hesitantly, if she will pose for a photograph; her hellsome beauty as startling as tarnished galaxies, as obscene as a lullaby sung underneath a storm of drones.
she will crack her lips into a grotesque fascimille of a smile and posture gauchely, parading her long-lost innocence like a sacrilegious relic strung alongside her pearls of infant skulls. on slow news days you will see her sordid smirk in the corner of page 3, holding up her fine fingers so you can’t miss the death tolls whose numbers serve merely to meter the orchestras of battle.
you may try to ask her for her story, but she will struggle to shape words in the tongue that should be spoken. the delicate machinations of politics and power have long ago scraped truth from her teeth. “murder” has lost its meaning, instead her shoulders will slump in defeat as she reverts to “collateral damage” and “civilian casualty ratios” instead. she ends off with a flippant joke about “just war” and you know the conversation is over.
hell? the gods have long ago abandoned her to the flames of a fury that consume her lifetimes over, whose heat lulls her into the comforting destruction of sleep; to be awoken with the resurrection of a horizon lit with bomb blasts.
the obscenity of violence has faded to the mundanity of a scream-speckled drumbeat; it accompanies her footsteps and the swing of her blood-drenched braids. her spine has been twisted out of and back into place by the grasp of politicking which lob grenades of jagged lies back and forth, her skin is lined with rope burns from the tug of war of propaganda they have torn her apart with. her skin has been mapped and re-mapped several generations over with fault lines of empires and armies determined to colonise her into fragments of flesh.
often she is forgotten. often she is reduced. at the end of it all she sits herself primly amongst the ashes of the remains of her soul and dabs the rouge from the ground on her cheeks, streaks of life animated and grotesque against her dead eyes. the narratives of history have rewritten her already; flooded her screams with rivers of ink. her alienation from humanity is comforting, at times: she would prefer to forget that all of this was possible only because of mankind itself.