A Hundred Gourds 3:1 December 2013
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Deb Baker - USA

Shell Game

Congress is considering a resolution authorizing limited military action against Bashar al-Assad, described in the media as a tyrant killing his own people. His little mustache – does he know it conjures another tyrant who killed with gas?

“sale pending” sign another grey dawn pearls of dew on the empty house’s lawn

Why us, a student asks? Why them, I wonder, why the Syrians, why not the Congolese? Why is gas a more terrible weapon than rape, why is shelling children crouched in their city apartments worse than drugging and conscripting them from their villages? Which refugees do we prefer to see grimacing on postcards from Doctors Without Borders?

Mallard family
tucks itself into the rocky shore
for the night

This summer I read that scientists estimate the underground cicada population by extrapolating from the number of empty shells left behind after their infestation. This impulse to weigh what’s to come by what’s lost – will we ever get it right?

finishing a book
I find the moon
has risen without me

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