War Photograph

Kate Daniels
A naked child is running 
along the path toward us, 
her arms stretched out, 
her mouth open, 
the world turned to trash 
behind her.

She is running from the smoke 
and the soldiers, from the bodies 
of her mother and little sister 
thrown down into a ditch, 
from the blown-up bamboo hut 
from the melted pots and pans. 
And she is also running from the gods 
who have changed the sky to fire 
and puddled the earth with skin and blood. 
She is running--my god--to us, 
10,000 miles away, 
reading the caption 
beneath her picture 
in a weekly magazine. 
All over the country 
we're feeling sorry for her 
and being appalled at the war 
being fought in the other world. 
She keeps on running, you know,
after the shutter of the camera 
clicks. She's running to us. 
For how can she know, 
her feet beating a path 
on another continent? 
How can she know
what we really are? 
From the distance, we look 
so terribly human.

From A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women, edited by Marilyn Arnold, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, and Kristen Tracy, published by the University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 2002 by the University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.

From A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women, edited by Marilyn Arnold, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, and Kristen Tracy, published by the University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 2002 by the University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.

Kate Daniels