I hear a death rattle in the night.
A soft moan in the distance
Suffuses the atmosphere
With longing. Passing cars play
An inhuman music, their howls
Drifting in from nearby highways,
Dying notes on a harmonica.
There is a perfect stillness
To the land of motion, nothing
Stirring in the tall grasses.
Tomorrow, they will be beating
The war drums, a foreknowledge
Of the disaster moving across
Their faces. For now, darkness
Keeps the warmongers at bay;
In tents along the Rhine, the fates
Of nations are decided,
Plans to mobilize thousands
Are finalized. A train’s departing
Whistle echoes in the hills,
Headed toward daybreak. The horrors
Exposed by the morning sun
Will be awash in blood and grief.
I hear the death rattle of the night.
Cody Simpson is a lifelong resident of southeast Missouri. His work has previously appeared in The Cape Rock and The Bees Are Dead, among other venues.