The streets fill for marching boots,
left, right, regimented steps
forward to obedient applause,
celebration and congratulation.
Hundreds of faces beam with pride,
waving their small plastic flags.
Our wounded warriors, they say;
keepers of our precious freedom.
But all I can hear is the mother’s cry –
ya Allah, give me back my child! –
heavy dust choking the air
her infant son no longer breathes.