Children of Sarajevo

February 16, 1994|By Kathleen Corcoran

"What we see now is a disturbing form

Of passive suicide when children do

Not try to avoid the bullets anymore

Since they are sure that they are going to die."

And so the nightly news intones again,

with the toy-like pop of distant gunfire

vying with a closer sound beside me

as a tired fly of winter

fumbles at the light,

its haphazard stabbing sounds,

loud against the brittle shade.

Pocked buildings on the screen look familiar

and I know I've seen the street before,

empty, except for one woman

scooting across the road,

head down shoulders hunkered

against the cold and blind

to the child's sled turned upside down

its joyous flight stopped starkly in mid-glide;

its steel runners static now

and fresh blood stains

darkening the snow.

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