The Third World War

What if we are already fighting the Third World War? [The New Yorker]

Kyiv still stands, after seven months of war.
Ukraine still bleeds. We wish them well, sending 
bombs and bandages, billions and billions. 
The world spins on. Spring, summer, fall, winter. 

What if this far-off fighting, this war wends
westward, crosses continents and oceans, 
expands, explodes, even enters our own  
back yards? Unthinkable, impossible. 
Machinery of war, mortars, mines, men 
dealing out destruction, death, and despair, 
darkening skies and spirits, over there 
(not here, not yet, not us), coming closer. 

We are already fighting fascism,  
are we not? Without saying its name, but
quietly, reasonably, trying not 
to upset our elected enemies, 
who converge on, or in, the Capitol, 
elected evil or militant mobs. 
In our streets, swastikas smear synagogues, 
books burn now, maybe ballot boxes next. 

The Third World War may look like nothing we 
expect, not a bang but a whimpering,
like peace for our time in 1938
as Hitler annexes “ethnic German” 
Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. 
Like peace for our time, first Crimea, then 
Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Donetsk.

What if fascists win in Italy and 
Florida, anywhere, everywhere.
We are already fighting, sleep walking  
waking to nightmares, Armageddon, to 
the Third World War, which started yesterday 
as we turned off the too-depressing news. 

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