Mapping the paths to and from the heart of the matter

      “True navigation begins in the human heart. It’s the most important map of all.”
                               ~ Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey
Not this or that war
but the path from this one to that one.
From this child’s still, yellow-gray face
folded between the arms
of her howling father, following it

back to the rows of emaciated
stick figures—corpse limbs jutting,
elbow joints, knees,
round knobs grasped, lifted,
lined up for the locals

in business suits and summer
dresses, open toed sandals,
polished leather shoes,
these burghers who for years
denied their existence though ash
belched from the chimneys,
and settled on their hair.

Now forced to view, they grimace,
breathe through ironed handkerchiefs
before being forced to dig
trenches, roll the bodies in
and bury them while the few

frail children who survive gaze
with round, empty eyes.

Now, help me map the path from that
to this thundering destruction in Gaza —
captured on this day’s front-page:
three orphaned children
grasping each other, howling—
 wide open eyes, open mouths—

on hearing how their mother
caught in the bomb’s fire path
perished.
                                    1/11/2009

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