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Saturday, April 18, 2015


by Mary Jo Balistreri

What follows is a found poem based on “Aleppo Diary: The Carnage From Syrian Barrel Bombs" by Dr. Samer Attar in The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2015

A nine-year old boy a barrel bomb obliterated hand

cylinders packed with explosives/shrapnel dropped by helicopters
Can you sew it back on

Bombs can’t be aimed hospitals pancaked blood smeared floors
slaughter of innocents 12 million in need half of them children
I couldn’t promise

Hundreds dying one weekend alone pulverized bodies crushed skulls
aid alone can’t offset systemic sustained slaughter
Stop barrel bombs the doctors say

Stop barrel bombs the doctors say
a nine-year-old asks Can you sew it back on
the U.N. asks, What more can we do

Steps you can take the doctors say
enforce no fly zones buffer zones too medical neutrality would be a help
more access to camps of refugees but mostly stop the barrel bombs

A nine-year old boy hand blown off you’ll be all right the doctor says
but deep inside the doctor knows the helicopters keep dropping
barrel bombs keep exploding

Mary Jo Balistreri has two full books of poetry, Joy in the Morning and gathering the harvest published by Bellowing Ark Press, and a chapbook, Best Brothers, published by Tiger's Eye Press. She has recent work in Parabola, The Hurricane Press, Plainsongs, The Avocet: Journal of Nature Poetry, Crab Creek Review, Quill and Parchment, Ruminate, The Homestead Review, The Heron's Nest, Acorn, and A Hundred Gourds. She has six Pushcart nominations, and two Best of the Net. She is associate editor of Tiger’s Eye Press. Mary Jo is also one of the founders of Grace River Poets, an outreach for women's shelters, churches, and schools.