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Saturday, August 11, 2018


by John Guzlowski

Dozens of children, many younger than 15, were killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a school bus in northern Yemen on Thursday, according to the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry. The children were on a field trip when their bus was struck at a market, the first stop of the day; 50 were killed and 77 injured, according to the ministry. Most of the children were inside the bus when the airstrike hit, according to a local medic, Yahya al-Hadi. The International Committee for the Red Cross said a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 bodies of "mainly children" younger than 15, and 40 injured, including 30 children. —CNN, August 10, 2018

Sorrow is the gift
God gives to teach us
what won’t last,
what will fall and be left
on the side of the road
by the mother lost
among refugees.

Sorrow teaches her
the value of screaming.

It will last longer
than bronze shoes,
longer than her baby’s

Nothing else she loved
is left. The home in Yemen
God bestowed? The husband
whose love was worth so much?
The baby?

The gift of everything is lost,
the way a penny is lost
In the dirt around her.

All that’s left
is the road she stands on—
that and the sorrow
He bestowed, the scream
that ends in screaming.

John Guzlowski's writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, and other journals.  His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees in Chicago appear in his memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues. Echoes received the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Foundation's Montaigne Award for most thought-provoking book of the year.  He is also the author of two Hank Purcell mysteries and the war novel Road of Bones.