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Winter 2008-2009 Edition
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Author: Stella Hatzopoulos Paolacci
Location: Australia

diamond icon Stella Hatzopoulos Paolacci graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelor of Arts (majors in English and Philosophy) and Bachelor of Social Work degrees. After working as a social worker for over 17 years, she resigned to become a full-time writer of fiction. Stella lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and two children.

This poem was born out of her anguish on the 30th of July, 2006, when Lebanon was being mercilessly bombed, and her wish that we might rediscover our humanity and begin to make peace.

For Qana

Amidst the rubble one man sits,
Where yesterday the sound of tooting horns,
Sent warnings to cars alike,
And laughing children playing by the curb.

Today amidst the rubble one man sits,
Where yesterday proud and angry men,
Watched their offspring run.
Drank their coffee bittersweet.

Today amidst the rubble this one man sits,
Where yesterday two men spoke of anarchy and a wish …
Harked back to times lost.
Imagined peace a possibility.

Today amidst the rubble this one, lonely man sits,
Where yesterday he thought he might see an end,
Now the burden of the future hangs,
And howling men and wretched women scream their loss.

Today amidst the rubble this man sits,
Abject in his seething impotence,
Hands that tried to save the dead, and search for innocence,
Now block his ears from hearing.

Today amidst the rubble this lonely man sits,
And by his side another and then another …
And weeps our loss,
For he has seen the treachery in men.

Amidst the rubble one man sits,
Smells the savagery distilled into the air … it is thick,
The revulsion sows hatred in a loving heart,
And he aches.

Today amidst the rubble this man sits.
His muddied face peers through hell,
When from the debris a whimper calls
And he begins his search again.

ISSN 1941-0441

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