A Boy in Baghdad
That’s my street.
My mother and sisters are afraid of it now.
A car bomb blew up down there.
Some people were killed.
I saw people with blood all over walking around,
others lying on the ground.
Blown up, just like that.
My father ran to help some people.
We know a man who lost an eye.
I have a friend who was kidnapped.
His family had to pay lots of money
to get him back.
My father gave money. Others did, too.
My father said, what if it had been me.
Everyone was so worried,
then so happy. They cried,
they were so happy when he returned.
They hugged and hugged him.
They had a party for him.
For a week he ate nothing but cake.
My sisters drive me crazy. They talk
ALL the time! I think it must be nerves.
Sometimes they can’t sleep. They cry.
They put on modern colors,
then dark, then bright, and modern again.
Crazy sisters. But they treat me
like a king.
My father writes poetry.
His favorite poet is Hafiz, a great Sufi poet,
maybe the greatest poet in the whole world,
in the history of the whole world.
Many read Hafiz.
They drink coffee in the cafés and argue
about his poems. Hafiz says things like:
Forgiveness is the coin you need.
All other coins just buy strange things.
Who is your father’s favorite poet?
I was trying to think of my favorite sound.
Maybe laughter. Maybe silence.
A fountain. A bird. A breeze in the palms.
My father reading Hafiz to my sisters.
Yes, night with people laughing.
Not so much anymore.
Night with no explosions: I like that sound.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
I don’t know. Alive, I guess.
© The Estate of Sandford Lyne