Famida Basheer


The Wasting Ways of War


They all weep.
War poems, Documentary scripts
File pictures, all cry that
War is about the brave men;
(sometimes women) ..they don't see a child

With dusty curls and gaping eyes
Wide... not in wonderment
At sight of angels or reindeer skies
But startled lashes that flutter
At Daisy cutters.

War is about the children
Who cling a security rag
That sweeps their earth of its history
And writes a whole new geography
In a stranger's script

... Is about the child that learns to hide
Not at play to be sought and found with glee
But with terror in his eye.

...Is about the unhoned brunt
Of a psychosis yet unborn
For those the Red Cross slipped

...Is about children at home
With Papas at the borders
Short-lived hero Papas.. alive or dead.

...Is about children in the streets
Who cannot recognize their mothers and aunts
Among the splash of mud and red.

Blood is lighter than water here

Water solidifies yet thaws unflawed to flow again.
Blood clots and remains clotted.
Clots and is interred if the body is fortunate.
Blood is thin with fatigue
Thin with the manipulations of thickset minds
Thin and clotting and powerless.

As powerless as startled children.

Submitted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Edited: Saturday, January 18, 2014

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