eve of my birthday
December 16, 1998

air strikes on Baghdad begin
tv screen lit up with
shots of sky above our
world's oldest city

Saddam's dark radio voice urges
defiance  defiance

hours later I decorate the tree
as Pavarotti's concert comes on
Liberian children chant
"we don't want no more war"
Stevie Wonder and Luciano sing
"peace wanted just to be free"
and I have to sit down

fifty two years ago my mother
is in labor and
in a few hours from now
I am born
fighter pilot father
first wave baby boomer
after the bombs

why are we still doing this

the children chant
Stevie and Luciano sing
my tears

© December 17 1998, Leslye Layne Russell

This poem was published in
Blue Moon Quarterly, February 2000,
and in Poets 4 Peace, 1999.

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