“On Tuesday, we saw the aftermath of the mortar round which crashed into the schoolyard where children were assembling for the start of classes. Torn trainers and little black shoes ripped in two were stuck in dark pools of congealed blood. One boy, Sinar Matanious, died instantly that day. Sixty children and teachers are being treated for injuries, including a young girl whose two legs had to be amputated. On Wednesday, we heard a loud blast when we were inside a school used as a shelter for displaced families in the city of Homs. Children who had recently escaped the painful siege of the rebel-held Old Quarter were in the midst of describing their frightening ordeal there of living under constant bombardment and gunfire.” --Lyse Doucet, BBC News, April 17, 2014
Image source: A Mis Behaved Woman
Forced to memorize
The bullet’s alphabet, study
Arguments of machine guns,
Grenades, mortars. We’ll
Have our day, or pay.
Streets couldn’t keep secrets.
Death machines in the sky
Bombarding our holes.
When we found weapons without
Their warriors, we convened like men.
Favored with the will to leave,
Saddled with sacks of uncertainty,
Others swarm like ants past borders
To whatever morsels surprise hopes.
They might return one day.
Fate doesn’t choose the fallen:
Some look peacefully asleep,
Woundless, without bruises,
No hints of fear in their faces
But they’re dead.
We who live among ruins
Learn to survive unparented,
Conflicts claiming adults faster,
To freedom’s lies easier.
In our games we pretend
To be soldiers. In lulls some
Stoke comfort round found
Fires, too afraid to fall asleep,
Too young to be storytellers.
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry is forthcoming in Anglican Theological Review, Pyrokinection, Ancient Paths, Inkscrawl, and has appeared in Windhover, The Lyric, PEN Peace Mindanao anthology, Star*Line, Liquid Imagination, Mobius Journal of Social Change, Inwood Indiana Press, Jellyfish Whispers, Golden Lantern, Poetry Quarterly, New Verse News, Qarrtsiluni, Anak Sastra: Stories for Southeast Asia, Fox Chase Review, Burning Word, Barefoot Review, Red River Review, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic. He is working on his first poetry collection, Multiverse.