Die In at the Plaza

The night before, some of the women
swaddled white cloth around cores
of crumpled newspaper about the size
of a two year old.

They went to the Plaza early,
laid out their shrouded bundles
and cardboard signage with the names
of bombed hospitals:

Al-Shifa Hospital, al-Ahli Hospital,
The Turkish-Palestine Hospital, Qater Hospital,
The International Eye Care Center,
Al-Quds Hospital, Indonesian Hospital.

All the news horrific.
Surgery without anesthesia, refugees congest
darkened hallways, children missing limbs and
parents. No food, no medicine.

The crowd began to gather in the Plaza.
Many in their hospital scrubs of blue or cranberry,
white coats of doctors. A large poster of hundreds
of medical personnel dead. Evidence of updating

the number of dead. The crowd carries flags, signs, banners.
Angry faces, numb, anxious. Confused
that the simplicity of their call for
cease fire could be rejected.

Wind whips the flags, traffic noise competes
with the words of speakers, chants echo
between buildings and sculptures. At a signal,
people spread out to lie on the ground

as if dead in the Plaza, victims of a
bomb attack. I lie on cold concrete inches from you,
looking at blue sky, sending my thoughts across
the world, fully aware I am alive.

James Madigan retired from public libraries after 25 years and returned to school to study the writing of poetry at University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the father of three daughters, and lives with his partner in Oak Park, Illinois. James can be reached at jmadigan640@gmail.com Read other articles by James.