|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.