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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

An image taken from social media shows the child soldier Wasil Ahmad being declared a hero last year for leading a militia’s defense against a Taliban siege. The Taliban announced on Monday that they had killed Wasil. —NY Times, Feb. 2, 2016

 Born into war,
    delivered by history, blood spilled
        with your birth, spattered on unseen hands.

The messengers raced away,
     gunmen on motorbikes, their message delivered
         two bullets to your head, no motorbike for

you, but a gun as big as  you were,
    a uniform made for a man, a helmet on your head,
        a child soldier, a human shield.  The Afghan government

has no details.  There will be
    an investigation of a child walking to his
        fourth-grade class. What did he see on his way?

Not the mountains in the distance,
    Not the flat land beneath his feet, not the
         hands of fruitless war,  only the marketplace of his world.

Lucille Gang Shulklapper’s work appears in numerous journals and anthologies, including TheNewVerse.News, Strand magazine, and Poetic Voices Without Borders, as well as in five poetry chapbooks and a picture book, Stuck in Bed Fred. Having taught reading K-college, made recordings for the blind, and raised a family, she is  presently a volunteer with Caregiver Youth of America.