Boy in Syria

A child should be the future, not the past.

Six. . .. eight at most.
His face a flower beginning to bloom.
A boy beginning to wake to truth.

The truth in this place is sarin gas.
It paralyzes the diaphragm,

is a nerve agent that makes it impossible for people to breathe.

They tear off their clothes.
They claw at the air.
They are being strangled by something they cannot see.

The struggle wrenches them into grotesque positions
like origami.

The soul watches in disbelief
as body is stripped from it.

The boy had plans.
He was going to be a lawyer or doctor.
He was going to play soccer on Sunday.

Kelly Cherry

Kelly Cherry

Author of 25 books as of February 1, 10 chapbooks, 2 translations of classical drama. Former Poet Laureate of Virginia. Emeritus Member, Poets Corner, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, NYC. NEA, USIA, Rockefeller, inaugural recipient of the Hanes Poetry Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Bradley Lifetime Award, Phillabaum Award, Weinstein Award, others. Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin Madison. Eminent Scholar, UAH, 2001-2005. Her newest book is Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer (poems).
Kelly Cherry

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Author: Kelly Cherry

Author of 25 books as of February 1, 10 chapbooks, 2 translations of classical drama. Former Poet Laureate of Virginia. Emeritus Member, Poets Corner, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, NYC. NEA, USIA, Rockefeller, inaugural recipient of the Hanes Poetry Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Bradley Lifetime Award, Phillabaum Award, Weinstein Award, others. Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin Madison. Eminent Scholar, UAH, 2001-2005. Her newest book is Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer (poems).