“A Man, His Family Killed by the War, Returns to Aleppo” By Steven Croft

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A Man, His Family Killed by the War,
Returns to Aleppo

In mornings I am despair.  I rise
and walk out to the balcony, its ruined
wall missing like my life, like townspeople
buried in the city’s uncleared debris.
Thanks be to Allah the days send no bombs
now.  But at night they still wake me sweating
and screaming into the sudden quiet
for the dead I’ve abandoned again
and again.

In mornings my neighbor’s daughter still
misses her leg.  “Every time I give her a doll,
she cuts off its leg,” her mother says.

In mornings, below me, younger men rebuild
the insides of houses, clear the street’s rubble
for cars while motorcycles weave through them.
Below me, I smell bread baking, hear laughter,
like an unknown language, its beauty alien
to my life, to my ear, its sound impossible
like my wife has come calling
my name.

About the Author: Steven Croft is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Coastal Scenes (2002) and Moment and Time (2015), both published by The Saltmarsh Press. He has published poems recently in Politics/Letters Live and Sky Island Journal. He works for The Marshes of Glynn Libraries in Brunswick, Georgia.


Image Credit: Photo courtesy of Getty Images‘ embedded photo program


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