Humane War 

Humane War 

Dreamt last night of humane war,
The jets sprayed heavy sedatives
Across the megalopolis
Before commencing bombardment.

I inhaled just enough of the stuff
To slow me down, to keep me from
The shelter, in the cellar, but
An insufficient dose to put me under. So
What else could I do?

I lay there, watching,
And thought, for some reason,
About the fourth grade
About the word mensch — how it’s used
To refer to a person of honor —

Which gives to the term
Übermensch, by the way,
An altogether different feel —

And I laughed as the buildings
began to rock
And the glandular stench of fear
from the cats
Grew thick as I coughed
and thought of Gershom Green

How can we, he used to say,
make peace with these machines

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at and on twitter @elliot_sperber