Gaza haikus

Palestinian parents in Gaza are writing their children’s names on their small bodies so they can be identified when pulled from the rubble.

Mama, I’m afraid
The bombs are looking for me
They will explode me

Don’t cry little one
I’ll write your name on your arm
To keep you alive

Is it magic, Mama?
Is there magic in my name
To keep me alive?

Yes my little one
Your name is filled with love
So you will be safe

Write my name, Mama
Write it on my arms and legs
Write it on my heart

Yes, my little one
I’ll write your name everywhere
All over the earth

I’m sleepy, Mama
Will you sleep here next to me
And tell me stories

Yes, my little one
Stories about how great love
Keeps children alive

I hope that great love
Will protect me from the bombs
I love you, Mama

Sleep now, little one
I will be here all night long
Saying your sweet name

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.