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The Aleppo Gardener’s Son

It takes a real face

don’t you think,

eyes, pores,

to see ourselves connected,



The boy who’s not broken

in a body bag

or dead – lined in a row of bodies,

hospital corridor,

like bullets in a cartridge belt.

Or just bits that were him

smeared through dust.


So when he smiles

he shimmers a memory,

a flicked periphery somewhere,

and when he laughs

it’s somehow all the world,

and when he cries

you’re crying too.


Like the Aleppo gardener’s son,

small for his thirteen years,

self – wrenched from friends, school,

to hold fast to his father,

the last market gardener in town.


A man who saw

heaven in a flower

& his flowering boy

& each to each

all the world.


But a bomb

disposed of him,

snapped the back

of tenderness.


The boy was asked

What will you do now?

And he thought

for a long time,

(you, meanwhile, watch

& think sometimes it’s hard to breath)


When the words come

they are wounds;

I really don’t know,

he said.

Published inPoetry

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