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The child we invaded
died for our sins.

You don’t know the child
of this story?
The one hunched in a ditch
as if in a womb of mud?
No one told you?

We attacked to protect
that child’s future
and the future
of that child’s children
--was that the idea?

Our humanity
is fragile.
Our humanity
is not guaranteed.

I say this
to those directly responsible
for this oversight--
    to those
    who have made me
    indirectly responsible--
I say this:
the people will eventually leave you

this exodus may take many downward steps.

But eventually we’ll accept those children
as our own.
We will see that what is broken
takes too long to heal.

We will finally hear the ghost
of that dead child

and follow its instruction.

© 2008 Michael R. Patton      go back

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