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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And the Ball Rolled into a Baghdad Dumpster…

The children shouted for the game they could lose
and palms were raised
where dust drops dripped
and voices booed.

And it was up to Sami
who just turned ten
to venture into the world of Baghdad trash
to recapture the trophy
for a part-time glory

So he stepped towards the pile of thrills and woes
the smell of the rot remotely touching his toes
an indefinite heap of suffocated shocks,
end-snipped stories, strangled facts, and stifled sorrows…

Tales of beings coming to life from inside the rust
of deformed oil drums,
rumors of things lashing out to cut all those who touch
the twisted trash,
these tugged at his hair and spat into his buzzing ears,
but it couldn’t happen to Sami!

Not with the football team jeering, swearing
and repeating his name…

His eyes peering, heart, almost disappearing, he crouched on the dirt
and extended a tired, somewhat-scratched arm
into the maze of unknown hate…
And he found the round thing, and gripped it!

With all the pride a ten-year old Baghdadi could gather
all the relief that his mother could no longer offer
all the passion that wining a game would promise…a small but such meaningful game!

He turned to the crowd
a tower of pride
the thrill dancing out of his once weary eyes…

And the silence that followed was smiting
the unsaid words in faces around him biting
the children’s tears already streaming
some crying
some screaming…

And Sami eyes went down
to the round
creature in his hands…
her eyes were closed in pain
her lips firmly shut in refrain
and her rotting cheeks almost gone…

so he dropped the head…
and fainted.

Note: This story took place when a number of children were playing football in a Baghdad suburb next to a neglected dumpster that had not been attended to in years.