Mike Subritzky

FACES AND HANDS

It was the faces and hands
of the children
I remembered most of all.
Dressed in rags or
sometimes naked,
arms outstretched
looking up at us
begging for scraps of food.

I don’t know how many
foreign kids
have dined on
good old Kiwi army
chocolate, (wrapped in
green camouflage
just so the uglies[1]
couldn’t see us eating).

Who could resist those small
open hands, or the faces,
or the spontaneous laughter
when one of the Maori Gunners
pulls an impromptu pukana[2] ?

I guess the numbers must be
legion… and anyway, there was
always that lazy old can of lamb,
peas and gristle[3] at the bottom
of the pack if you really got
in the shit for a feed.
I think I hated the Oak canning factory
more than I hated the communists.

Submitted for the March 2004 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Children