LITTLE BOY WAR
 
He stands alone
On a vacant road
Hands shaking from
the cold
His heart is aching
From the untold
 
Under
His right arm
Is a tattered bag
Which he holds tightly
As if it were filled
With gold
 
He's just six
Going on seven
 
And it's past ten
Going on eleven
 
He takes another toke
From his cowboy smoke
 
And wishes
He too
Could have died with his brother
And taken the ride
to heaven.
 
His tummy rumbles
And grumbles
He feels faint
And tries hard
Not to stumble
 
His eyes scream
With muted cries
Too loud for his tired soul
To conjure enough energy
To even mumble.
 
Little kid scared
 
Alone in the
Middle of Iraqi nowhere
 
Past curfew
Without a clue
As to what to do
Or to go where
 
Just standing there with
A shark's glazed and lifeless stare
 
His eyes reveal a whirlpool of disaster
Just another Iraqi kid
Who can't help
Growing up any faster
The streets are dark
And it's just him.
Standing in the shadow
Of a blinking ATM
 
He now thinks of his worn mother
How she once took his torn shirt
And lovingly sewed its hem back together
He never understood
Why she had always told him
"Buckle your sandals"
She used to call,
"Buckle them good
So you can walk right and
Stand taller than them all!"
 
So why did he feel so small?
And why does he feel like he's about to fall?
 
He kicks his little sandals
At the sand
Trying to understand
What Uncle Sam
And his freedom plan
Had done to his once beautiful land
 
Babylon is crashing.
 
In front of him memories are flashing
Rubble, ash, blood, and dust
An empire once fueled with beauty and gust
Now buried under artillery, bones, and rust
 
In the corner of his eye
He sees a tank suddenly appear
He tries to focus on its lights
Like a lost and rampant deer
Then that chilling electric sound
Cuts and pierces through his ears
 

The tank stops.

A lady emerges from its top
And examines the boy and sneers
She asks what he is doing outside by himself
And tells him that there are rules
That all must now adhere
 
But Little Boy Iraq
Glares without
A drip of fear
 
He swings his precious bag high up in the air
And cries,
 
"I'm not alone!
Look! My mother is in here!"
 
I watched from a distance
Then turn away to disappear
My heart felt like a cold rock
And I couldn't control my tears.
 
Behind my back
And in my mind
The little boy's
Words echo forever
So loud
And clear…
 
"In here and always near.
Her hands and heart are right here."
 

 

LITTLE BOY WAR by Suzy Kassem
Taken from Rise Up and Salute the Sun, 2010. First published in Truth is Crying, 2008.

Copyright 1994 - 2016. All rights reserved.

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