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Monday, October 14, 2019


by Tricia Knoll

QAMISHLI, Syria – "Eight-year-old Sara Yousif has become a symbol of the Turkish war on northeast Syria, which has caused the death of around 40 civilians, according to a war monitor." —The Independent (UK), October 13, 2019. "Sara lost her leg when Turkish shells rained down on her neighborhood of Qudurbag, eastern Qamishli on Thursday, killing her brother 11-year-old Mohammed and wounding her mother and brother Ahmad." —Rudaw (Kurdish media network), October 13, 2019.  Below, Sara's father Yousif Gharib speaks to reporters at the funeral for his son. Credit Rudaw for photos.

to the glory light on sober gold
of Vermont’s falling leaves

or for the places we’ve seen
Ansel Adam’s Yosemite

now smothered in wildfire smoke.
Those people we remember –

the Afghani girl’s blue eyes
the minister on the hotel balcony

the monk in flames or the man
with a flower facing a rolling tank

the father’s arm holding daughter
Valeria on the banks of the Rio Grande

and now Sara, age eight,  a Kurd, who lost
her leg to a fast-moving Turkish bomb

and her father sobbing over the body
of his dead son, not yet pointing his finger

to the betrayal of a man in Washington
whose soldiers she may have once trusted.

The photos do not do justice, let them
remind us justice could be done.

Tricia Knoll’s most recent poetry collection How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) received the Gold Prize in the Poetry Book Category for Motivational Poetry in the Human Relations Indie Book Prize for 2018.