The children of the dead

The children of the dead
Wander through the blasted landscape
Pulling little wagons
Piled high with broken toys,
Ripped and eyeless stuffed animals,
Empty bowls
And the enormous absences
Created by 2000-lb. bombs
And spectral drones.

The faces of the children of the dead
Are smeared with dirt and blood and tears
They have no shoes
They wear torn t-shirts
With pictures of American celebrities
Emblazoned on them
They wear baseball caps
Of the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Giants, the Cubs
They wear the apparel of American capital
American hegemony
The apparel of USA and Co.
As they stumble along the rubbled roads
Not knowing where they are going
Or what they are looking for
Or how they will die.

I would like to tell the children of the dead:
Tomorrow stones will be flowers
Bombs will fall upwards
And melt in the sun
Machine guns will choke on their own vomit
The vicious killers rampaging
Through your streets
And through your dreams
Will evaporate into puffs of fetid breath
To be swept away
By lilac-scented winds.
I would like to tell the children of the dead:
You are the heroes of this story
Not the villains
You are the seeds that will sprout
All over the ruined earth
You will make olive trees grow
You will make Palestine bloom.

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.