He wets his bed at night and in the morning
runs to the junction to throw stones. What
did he eat for breakfast? Who washes his clothes
when he comes home at dusk full of dust and the sight
of his friends (from the same bench at school)
fallen in blood? Behind him his uncles
are urging him on and shooting over his head
at soldiers still boys themselves. In the kitchen Mother
wrings her hands and takes comfort in the fact
that her child is her savior, alive or dead.
I too dream of you every night, child,
small and scrappy and hard to control,
determined to change the direction of generations,
full of disdain for the days just gone by,
sure you can make it by the force of your anger.
I dream of you not as your foe, but as one
who has heard screams like yours in the night
and do not want to reassure you with dreams of paradise
for martyrs, as one who has grown up with my own
enemies and bogeymen, have known children
holding up their hands at rifle point on the streets,
walk every day with brothers and sisters
who died before I was born.
And in my dreams I hold you and feed you and read you
a fairy tale, a bedtime story, still believing I can keep your fears
from growing up true, teaching you gently
from your folklore and mine, tucking you in
and promising to wake you
with a new morning.