The vine-covered walls imprison sounds
the cobbled ground barely makes sounds as
the boy walks slowly through the street.
It is midday. The boy looks up, in contrast with
the mud-coloured walls, dusty brown road
the sky is an open sanctuary. If this is a dream,
it doesn’t feel so bad to die in a sleep but this is life.
Red pomegranates in a plastic bag, a football
under his left armpit, short cut jeans
a shirt white as jasmine, a smile and a quick dash.
      These all
           “A boy killed —” one headline says
                                                   cease to exist
Violence creeps like termites devouring wood
until only faint traces of the living can be seen
the headline doesn’t say this:
                                      “A boy is in a sanctuary.”

You Could Have

It is a cold, damp morning. We sit beside each other under the canopy. You are looking at your book, trying to remember the little details that seem to be important. Water drips from the drenched canopy roof, hitting your book. You look up, sigh, and rearrange yourself in a position that is now closer to me. I sit silently, watching your face, trying to not let you know about it. Even in my fear, there are too many things about you that just pull me in. You look like you are contemplating on something. I may not know what it is, but I know that I am in love with the way the light shines upon your face, soft and warm even in the gloomiest of days. You mumble things, saying how you don’t understand a heck the book is saying. I laugh. Not because it’s funny (well it is funny), but because I love hearing your voice. Then you look at me and smile. The way you smile, it’s crooked, it’s not perfect, and that makes it beautiful. I look away, pretending to watch the birds soaring above the clouds. You see our friends, close your book, get up and walk, your steps creating muffled squishy sounds as your shoes touch the water-filled pavement. I look back at you, you never realise that. You never realise how I am in love with you. How I long to say things I’ve been safeguarding for years. How I long, but in the end, I just can’t. My mouth won’t ever form the words. But you need to know this: you could have never stopped me from loving you.

Gazans being attacked by Israel. Malaysia Airlines Fight MH17 shot down by separatists. Mosul Christians uprooted from a place they have called home for a thousand years, what is happening to this world?

People have forgotten these simple things: compassion, understanding, love. It seems now we only exist for ourselves. We don’t care about the rest. How long will this continue?