for Niko

It’s the smell we remember –

Fire embraces earth, slicing
through a million mistakes,

each a new normal

to be accepted as true,

immutable as stolen land.

There are bones to be discovered,

stories told:

monsters are as real
as those who serve them

We see darkness
but don’t describe it,

leaving it to children

to find a way out.

In the flames

we see ourselves –

no reflections,
only time to move
from child

to father
to old man

standing in a pile
of ashes.


Eric Draitser is an independent political analyst and host of CounterPunch Radio. You can find his exclusive content including articles, podcasts, audio commentaries, poetry and more at You can follow him on Twitter @stopimperialism.