“Raqqa Suddenly Becomes Holy”

by Christine O’Leary Rockey

(“Raqqa Suddenly Becomes Holy” mobile version)

Oh son,
my son,
oh, my soldier boy,
trained to heal, who needs
to heal, who left because you could not heal
and now I fear you are desperately holding children
as their skin falls from them like paper, pulled
from a smoldering school. I am crossing myself
praying none look like your sister- she is fine
I swear to you she is fine, I promise you
that she is growing by the day. I swear
she will not fall to guns or carnage
she’ll not be smashed beneath
rooftops or burnt between
walls, I swear to you,
I swear, I oh so
that these
are not
and you
can operate
and know they
are not yours. You can
triage them, and bandage them…
You can stitch them up and carry them-
you can dig them out and bury them…
But I swear it’s not your sister
that you pull from
broken walls

but know:
the child
beneath your
hands is just as
holy, just
as small
And was just as scared
when happened the walls
shook, and its mother held it
just as tight
the way you’ve seen me
hold your little sister
on many a dark and fev’rish night.