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Monday, February 16, 2009


by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

I want to write about the children
I've seen their dark, liquid eyes
luminous as onyx

I don't want to write about war
I want to write about those eyes
that strain to figure out
what will happen next
why blue jeans and pans are piled in cartons
why families huddle in freezing schools
and mothers never stop sweeping

I want to wonder
how leaves still feed on sunlight
how the eyes find daylight through the smoke
if moon and silence will return

I can't write about war
I see the untrusting eyes of children
whose dreams are loud as waking
who can't play house
who have learned to be at home
with the ready shape of hatred

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Claremont, California. Before her doctorate, she majored in German Language and Literature so that she could read poetry for credit. She has written since she was nine, but did not submit poetry for publication until 2007. She laughs at things that no one else thinks are funny. She proof-reads too much for her own good; as a therapeutic measure, she started an on-line photo group dedicated to making public the grammatical and other written idiocies that we see out there. Her poems and photos have appeared in Untamed Ink, O Tempora! Faraway Journal, online whispers & [Shouts], Superficial Flesh, the San Diego City Works Press 2008 anthology of Hunger and Thirst, and Schmap, and will appear in Lilliput Review. A poem of hers has been nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.