Martin Bennett

i     TABLE

Potentate installed down one end,
scarce within earshot his advisors
at the other, it stretches

like a mini ice rink, thinking turned
lethally one way. Beyond lacerated
frontier to forge missiles

into ploughshares or with a pink tractor
haul an invading tank backward
across the wintery fields.


Still short of their 21st birthday,
cruelly misinformed young men
once captured request to phone
home to their mothers…


As with Abel’s blood
the ground round Babi Yar
now cries twice over

iv   CNN, March 2022

Potentate this time up close
and palely smiling
between pre-picked hostesses
of the national airlines –

One more click
and beyond the border
by his orders
cluster-bombs, mortar-

fire, trip-wire, mines –
the valley of death
as video clip, we left
grotesque spectators.