The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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After the Old Masters

The father looks up to the sky or ceiling
(beyond the grey scale of the photograph)
with his son wrapped inside his cradling arms.
An orderly obscures the boy’s midsection,
with silence says he is beyond all healing.
Outside the frame in colour copter strafe
restokes the ire of Taliban gendarmes
who soothe the mother twisted in dejection.
We do not catch a whiff of her pained retching,
catch sight of their clenched fists or hear their words.
We see the father’s sorrow-stricken eyes
in what could almost be a Rembrandt etching,
his pitch black pupils focused heavenwards
to where God’s justice or His mercy lies.

 

2008
first appeared in Chronicles, 2009
 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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