News Picture from Beslan 

I dreamed I was this wild-eyed man
Fleeing at a stumbling run,
My arms enfold a hostage child
From death school Number One.

His small blond head bumps on my chest,
His curls are streaked with mud;
His shoulder is as white as frost,
But his face is dark with blood.

Aghast, I clasp his limp pale form,
And search his lips for breath,
And curse the mad black widows
Who revenged themselves to death.

And I can feel the child’s dead weight,
And smell his fear-smeared skin,
And I can hear the gunfire
And the screaming from the gym.

Then in my dream I heard the song
The children sang that Open Day.
And in my sleep I choked with grief
And could not howl the pain away.

October 2004