Afghan Bombs Are Not Meant for Children
Peering into the eyes of a child 
stressed, is a mirror shattering 
six inches from your face teasing 

to scratch you. Parentless children
find a way to exist with kinfolk, 
with siblings, abandoned with despair 

on a plane packed with strangers. 
Their stare, still shocked from sorrowful 
separation, a thousand-yard focus 

past the plane’s bulkheads. I cannot 
shake the boy off the plane with hazel eyes 
affixed on me, dusty without socks, 

shoes shuffling his feet. I cannot shed 
the eeriness, peeling away layers under 
my skin as he was armlengths away. I cannot 

discard his image, my mind writing
alternate endings, his destined branched paths 
flung from confined federal orphan care.

I can only hope that my soft smile
brought comfort from his disconnection,
being a sensory blanket awakening
his skin pores, a step away from the pain. 

About the poem:
I wrote this poem while assigned to a team in Germany working with the U.S. State Department and UNICEF from the United Nations. The task was to identify and assist children that were traveling unaccompanied fleeing from the predicted oppression of the current regime in Afghanistan, Autumn 2021. These children either lost or were disconnected from their parents. This was an emotional process for me, listening to their stories, and finding out their needs which led to this one of a series of poems I wrote.

Photo by Mohammad Rahmani/Unsplash


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