Robbie Gamble

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

 

Dubiously framed as third-world proverb,
dusted off and paraded as realpolitik

but consider: my new-found friend
(or second-generation enemy)— what if

he has an enemy, do I watch
my back doubly, or trust

my new friend to keep a newer enemy
at bay? And in such a hostile world

where enemies and pseudo-friends
line up and interlock

like some geopolitical zipper,
what happens when the killing starts?

Do old alliances detonate at the seams
and teeth go flying everywhere?

Or, if two enemies somehow make up
does everyone then flip-flop

on down the line? Whew. I need to drop
what I’m doing, build some empathy

with the child that drags me from my post
before the television, him and the children

of those bombers and snipers and plotters.
Or failing that, tally the rows

of cordwood corpses, all those
paired and empty eyesockets

echoing neither love nor hate
just brimming with questions.

 

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