WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR
What are we looking for in these children
of war? What story will their blood
unfold, all the poisons in their hair and teeth,
the short lives in a world of grit and soot.
I walk my little girl
down to the water where the goats rot
orange and black and drift
into the reeds and oil stain. My child
knew nothing else, born after
the conflagration, conceived in the kiss
of uranium, embers that burn
clear down to the soul, they still sing
those children. They know nothing
else. We, the parents and other
survivors, wake again in a sweat of terror
for what was stolen from us
our brothers and mothers
taken in the dark, a taste of iron
on the tongue, a burst heart,
a plundered museum
of our lungs. There has been
no kindness in these reports, the popping
of distant guns, the piles of waste
burning, what’s left
of what was used to scorch and sunder
the very heart of the eyes of
where we all were born.
My children are born toxic:
too many fingers, an eye
where an eye does not belong.
How can we love them as we love them?
It is not a question with answers.
Everything is broken.