Monday, July 17, 2006

Events, current or otherwise

Newsphoto: Basra,
Collateral Damage

Our armies do not come into your cities and lands
as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.

—General F.S. Maude, commander of the British
 colonial forces in Iraq, 1914

Apparently the little girl is dead.

In Basra, bombed to rubble by the Yanks,

her stricken father cradles her small head.

Her right foot dangles, ghastly, by a thread.

Cluster bombs & F-16s & tanks.

That is to say the little girl is dead

whose fingers curl (small hand brushed with blood)

as if to clutch his larger hand. He drinks

her—sobbing—in, & cradles her small head,

& rocks her in his arms, the final bed

but one in which she'll lie. The father clings,

as if his broken daughter were not dead,

her face, as if in sleep, becalmed, but red,

bloodied, bruised. At bottom left, the ranks

of those still dying die beneath her head.

Legions of the Lords of Plunder: the dread

angel of empire offers you thanks!

Look, if you dare! See? The child is dead.

Her stricken father cradles her small head.

by Steve Kowit

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