A naked child is running along the path toward us, her arms stretched out, her mouth open, the world turned to trash behind her. She is running from the smoke and the soldiers, from the bodies of her mother and little sister thrown down into a ditch, from the blown-up bamboo hut from the melted pots and pans. And she is also running from the gods who have changed the sky to fire and puddled the earth with skin and blood. She is running--my god--to us, 10,000 miles away, reading the caption beneath her picture in a weekly magazine. All over the country we're feeling sorry for her and being appalled at the war being fought in the other world. She keeps on running, you know, after the shutter of the camera clicks. She's running to us. For how can she know, her feet beating a path on another continent? How can she know what we really are? From the distance, we look so terribly human.
From A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women, edited by Marilyn Arnold, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, and Kristen Tracy, published by the University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 2002 by the University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.