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Friday, June 08, 2018


by George Salamon

Shafiqullah, 13, is one of seven children from an extended family wounded in the blast of a rocket left behind after a battle in Afghanistan. Credit: Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

It was a cruel day, even by the standards of Afghanistan’s long war. By nightfall, four were dead, including Jalil, who had tried to save them all and died at a hospital that night. One 4-year-old girl, Marwa, lost both her twin sister, Safwa, and their mother, Brekhna, who had been nearby making dung cakes for fuel. One of Brekhna’s nieces, a 6-year-old, was also killed in the blast. Seven survivors—three brothers and four of their first cousins—were left to bear the weight of those losses, and more: Every one of them lost a leg, and two lost both. —The New York Times, June 3, 2018

Missiles fly over villages
Of houses and children.
One landed below, picked  up
By a child it exploded in a fireball of
Blood and screams,
Of corpses and severed limbs
And savaged lives.
It happened in a tiny spot
On the map, far away from
The centers of the global economy
And to people who have
No wealth to manage.
There was the usual silence before.
There will be the usual silence after.

George Salamon lives in St. Louis, MO,  where children are occasionally caught in the crossfire of gunfights.