To all of you
Who follow, visit, read, ‘like,’ and comment …
For making possible this milestone of reaching over
I am so very grateful!
“They’re collateral damage,” he said, and gestured toward the flash of news images across the screen. “It’s not anything personal against them.”
He shrugged as if his words explained all of what happened. Of what continues to take place.
“They never should’ve put themselves in this situation,” he added, perhaps because he’d perceived my incredulous stare as an invitation to explain further, or perhaps because someplace, somehow, he felt ashamed. That is, if he was capable of shame, which as the evening dragged on I found myself increasingly doubtful of.
I glanced at Brenda, whose dinner plate seems to have become her world. Her absconding only made me angrier, but the boulder in my throat allowed no sound. I shook my head.
“Well, they could’ve stayed where they were,” he retrieved a comb out of his pocket and proceeded to slick back his salt-and-pepper hair, and the outrageously incongruous act against the reality of utter misery, somehow released my breath.
“They are children!” I choked on the word, but the rest tumbled out behind it as if afraid to become lodged again. “They could not make the decision to stay. They had no choice where to be born. Or who they were born to, or whether or not to put themselves in any situations.”
He continued to groom himself with the comb and I fought the urge to grab his arms and toss away the thing, one of the many things, the children were denied.
“Their parents should’ve taken better care of them,” he added blandly.
I took in a deep breath. “Even if that was true, which it is not in the vast majority of the cases, how does that make it acceptable for others to deliberately traumatize these children further?”
He raised an eyebrow in disdain to signal that my upset was the overreaction. “If their parents stayed in their own countries,” he stated sedately, “instead of coming here, the children wouldn’t get locked up. It’s simple, really. If a person doesn’t want their kids to suffer, they should not do certain things.”
“So now we’re talking like the mafia? Threatening people with harm to their kids?”
“Calm down,” he drawled. “Now that people know their kids wouldn’t have it easy here, perhaps they’d think before they decide to make their kids into collateral damage. If they did as they were told and stayed wherever it was they belonged, none of this would have to happen.”
I inhaled and glared at his wife, the colleague whose silence at the face of cruelty made her increasingly less of a friend. Her eyes scanned the wall someplace not quite behind my head.
“So you approve of terrorizing children,” I stated, my fingers groping for my purse. Her birthday dinner or not. I was done. “This is exactly what mafia does.”
He actually cackled. “They’re the mafioso. It’s their fault if their kids are cold and wet and getting hurt. What did they expect, crumpets and tea?”
She could go up
On the path
There the low road
Full of snarls and
Or she could take
With its twists,
She could go up
On the path
So she paused to
How to best
And decided it
To give the high road
To the lock
At the end of
But the adversity
Of its birth.
For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Lock
There is no
If the trees of our soul
With no ears near
Be the voice
Of your song.
Let the air move
As the sun’s last light
May worry find a safe
That morning might
That homes might turn
And children’s cries
As they wake
To the dimming of
Be the lone voice
Against the winds
That wish to
Into common practice.
Behold the skies
Even as you keep
And a just
For July Blues
He was enthralled.
His fate decided
By those who bought
The humans they preferred
To see as lesser than,
In order to exact a price
For their own
His slavery was still
Held against him
In deliberate inequity,
His struggles mocked
As ‘proof’ he hadn’t been trying
Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll
“Did they tell you what you’d find there?”
Vince shook his head. His eyes sought the window and rose along the flagpole to its top. The silence lingered.
“No,” the Veteran said quietly. “We’d heard rumors, of course, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the conditions there.”
He took a deep breath. His hand tightened around his cup and his eyes remained glued to the flag outside. “People crammed into cold, bare rooms. Without necessaries. Not even a place to sleep. Frightened, sick children. Belligerent guards. I’m ashamed, Son. The flag I fought under now flies over American concentration camps.”
He will carve mountains
Slow but steady
In his pressure.
In the calculated cold of his
That curl like tight fists
Under an unquestioning love.
He has carved himself
In the process,
Into valleys of sacrifice.
Carved them, too,
Into mirror images
To reflect the truths he holds.
He will carve mountains
Heavy-handed and doggedly
Glacial with volcanic undertones.
original fiction, rhyme and photography
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