Paradise Lost

A small child sat
with a bed of flowers
in innocence
until once a man holding a bomb
came by and asked
why can't you do something with your life?
I do not understand you,
said the child
I speak with the stars
and sing with the trees
and dance with the wind
and that is everything in the world.
no, no, said the man
you must have a purpose
a cause
why, look at me
I am just on my way
to kill those people over there.
why? asked the child
the man said,
well of course
that is to say I mean
you see they believe that human
beings should share everything equally
(whereas we believe that certain people
should be allowed to starve
if they choose to do so)
and if they come too close
they will make us start sharing too
and that is why
the dirty red bastards must be killed.
ah, said the child
how silly of me not to see.
then surely among your own people
everything goes in harmony?
oh, no, said the man
many of these people who often
choose to starve
have a ridiculous amount
of pigment in their skin
so obviously they are inferior
and we will all be better off
as soon as we get rid of
the colored people.
at this the flowers spoke up
do people come in many colors too?
o you must be as happy as we are
for the roses and bluebells
the jonquils and daisies
and the dandelions
bring each other such joy in the springtime
as every one is beautiful
in a different way.
nonsense, said the man
we live in a democracy
and there is only one way
of making you all equal
so saying, he let the bomb
blossom over their fragile heads
which became blackened and shriveled
and fell into the soft earth
no longer distinguishable from one another.
then he took the hand of the child
and led it away
to receive a dull green uniform
and a rifle
of its very own.

September 13, 1988

Copyright ©1988, 1999 by Erica Schultz Yakovetz. All rights reserved.
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