MAKING CHILDREN SMILE
The big sound comes and your shirt moves with it. The force of it arrives, presses against and moves around you. You watch a cart filled with fruit lift up. You don’t know you are off the ground until you crash back down onto it. Dust is everywhere and the wall with a mural isn’t there anymore. Giorgia is picking herself up, looking at you and pointing. You count the kids and try to get them to where Giorgia was pointing. The next one hits. The kids are screaming, you can’t hear them, your ears are done. You feel the thuds and Giorgia has the kids holding hands again. You grab the last kids’ hand and make it across the square to the basement of a building.
You rest against the wall and light a cigarette.
The kids are looking at you. You make a funny face and they start laughing. You watch Giorgia and that is our job you think.
We make the kids smile, Giorgia, don’t we?
Look at them, if the war doesn’t get them the landmines will or the winter.
You put out your cigarette, walk like Charlie Chaplin and make dead children smile.
©Copyright 2000 by Patrick Sexton