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Monday, August 28, 2006


by Bonnie Naradzay

In the beginning, Beirut, set like pearls
against the stunning Mediterranean blue,
could have taken your breath away.

Qana, the village where tanks gunned down
citizens in Biblical proportions:
Now ten years later, attacked again,
the casualties once more are children.

“It was an accident. It was their fault,
their own fault for hiding among civilians,”
the general chortled: “When you sleep
with a missile, sometimes you don’t
wake up in the morning.”

Life has assumed a strange and stunted
quality. A Koran lies open for prayer,
a school notebook creases a pillow.
A crushed sandal, a can of beans.
And a book, blasted into a splintered
olive tree. The child who choked
to death – what was his sin?

The shock and awe, a mimicry,
was planned for over a year.
Officials express regret.
Money and arms, a global outcry,
those involved not authorized to speak.

The killing of children:
such catastrophes happen.
The families wanted to flee
but were too poor and had no
families in cars were targeted,
and convoys carrying medical supplies,
milk factories, grain silos, the airport,
bridges, mosques, entire Christian villages.

“Death leads to a pause,
not a cease-fire. Claiming
the moral high ground,
officials express regret.”

The toll: exile and subjugation.
The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
killed 18,000 people,
the awful symmetry
of 18 years’ occupation,
the Shiites suffering most,
giving birth to Hezbollah.

Pummeling the West Bank midwifed
the rise of Hamas which begat
the bulldozing of Palestine.

The Morning After Pill reduces the risk,
ends rather than prevents pregnancies?
Pharmacies tout a Morning After Koolaid
that ensures amnesia of past calamities.

Bonnie Naradzay, a student at the Stonecoast MFA program, has poems forthcoming in JAMA and Innisfree and has published in numerous online journals. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.