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Afghan Orphan

by Anthony O’Dell

He has a quota to meet.
carrying his box of wares,
eight years old, a businessman,
malnourished, stunted growth,
Eyes as dead as his soul.

Success–a drunken beating.
Failure–brutal abuse, rape.

Camouflaged customers patrol the street.
Chameleons change–performance time.

Stopping, staring down the barrel of a gun.
No reaction, No racing heart, No words,
he spoke this language for eight years.
Deadly resolve on the soldier’s face,
Eyes as dead as his soul.

Shadows disapprove.
Cigar burn on his arm stings.

He turns to the next foreigner on the street.
He has a quota to meet.