Dead Babies – by Doug D’Elia

From a distance it looks as if
she is carrying a sack of rice,
but it’s a dead baby

she’ll place at our feet
with sad eyes, and
a ghost of a chance.

As if our magic, our special medicine
could heal its napalm burnt,
shrapnel infested body.

As if we can bring her baby
back for an encore smile or
one last lunge at a beating breast.

As if some Christian missionary
had told her of Lazarus risen,
shaking off both dirt and death.

As if we could pull-off
that kind of miracle,
we can’t.

As if seeing her
approach we could murmur
anything other than

Oh, Christ!
We can’t. I wish we could.
Jesus, I pray we could.


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