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Sunday, August 14, 2016


by Devon Balwit 

Image via Pinterest.

He places his hand on his heart, says Shukran
            for the English lesson,

this specialist in childhood education, their earliest
            formation, in a country

where children scavenge rubble or carry bodies
            of wounded siblings.

He has written six books, he says, six, his hand on his heart.
            this is creative, my talent,

the words delivered with gentle precision, the delicacy of one
            who works with children.

My other students listen politely from a distance, teenagers
            from Japan, Chile, Azerbaijan.

None of us know what it cost him to share our white desks
            at this school in Oregon,

know the Syrian children ruined in Aleppo, while his heart beats
            beneath fingers as he says Shukran.

Devon Balwit is a poet from Portland, Oregon.  Her poetry has appeared before in TheNewVerse.News as well as in other journals.