Child soldier

You grab the guns with hand of milk
with fingers that had never held
a pen within.
You cannot read the fear in your target’s eyes
but surely you’ve been taught
to wash your hands of all that blood.

The trigger should get stuck
when there is a human target,
when there’s a child who pulls it
sometimes so innocently.
The blood should stop to flood
each field and every valley.
The pallid cherry flowers
should not fall on new graves.

Mihaela Melnic, born in Romania, lives and writes in Rome, Italy. She is the author of the poetry collection Layers of Rust and Life (2023, Impspired Press), co-author of the poetry and short fiction book Evermore (2021, 17Numa Press). Her work has been published in various literary venues and anthologies. Links to her publications can be found at her website. Read other articles by Mihaela.