From a distance

This is a rough, first draft . . .

God knows how many times
I have stood frozen in the hot street
with rifles pointing at my crotch

& watched myself – small
& impossibly thin – in the oil-black
mirrors of their sunglasses.

They never take them off, not even
to enter a mosque. God knows
they are easy to hate.

But after the explosion when
I ran with the others to look, suddenly
I felt shame for all the things

I had thought. One howled, the other
bled in silence, eyes naked
to the sun. I bent down.

Above the smooth cheeks
such a clear, pale blue! I felt as if
I were looking down from heaven:

Here is our sky, soldier,
here is yours. Hold on.
Help will come.

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