By RUAA LABANIEH
Echoing explosions of barrels and chlorine bombs,
mute the father’s dirty shoes as he runs against
the piling rubble.
The father’s shoes clatter as he runs against
the parts of the shop he had bought his shoes from,
as he runs
against the puddles of mixed rain and blood.
Booming airplanes, soaring bullets hit home.
They mute the sound of a mother’s cries for
her open-hearted, close-eyed son.
The mother’s cries for
the house she lovingly poured her artistic efforts into.
The mother cries for
the newborn baby her friend left behind when she fell
face first against the concrete.
The father stepped against this broken ground,
on his way through the rubble,
past the parts of the shop,
wading through the bloody puddles.
Armed, uniformed men march
cheering for devastation.
They mute the children’s broken laughs as they cuddle
an orphaned, lonely girl.
The children cuddle with their mothers,
whimpering while they watch the soldiers with
empty eyes and empty stomachs.
The children cuddle with a surviving teddy bear,
whispering in its stuffed ear.
They wait in the house the mother decorated,
the house that belonged to her friend,
who dropped the bear in the rubble
that the father had run past,
leaving it in the growing puddles.