Another photo of a twisted, flaming car
where minutes before shoppers heard
a muezzin call. Off to the side,
a little girl, alone, half-hidden
by smoke, holding up
her shredded hand like a dead animal
she doesn’t know where to put.
It’s not the smeared tears, the crimson
wonder of her blood that horrifies,
the bright teeth as she wails.
But the sense she’s been unpackaged,
her skin a wrapping that had held
her hand in place;
that no one can refold
the strings and ribbons of flesh
into fingers that will someday
grasp a photo such as this.

 

Paul Carroll

PAUL CARROLL, a former professional ballet dancer, works as an attorney bringing environmental lawsuits in northern California on behalf of public interest groups, and handling criminal appeals for the indigent. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, River Styx, The Journal, Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review and others.

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