Two brothers, clutching each other’s hands as they walk with blistered, battered feet… emaciated, skeletal bodies, mouths dry, longing for home, water, food… something
I hold my son close and sing to him as he falls asleep
Two brothers, wasted, lifeless, half naked roam the deserted streets of Haleb, the older boy carrying their baby brother in his arms… orphaned
He nuzzles against my chest, at peace, content
They have seen death, smelled it, heard its shrill nauseating sounds, felt it close to their skin. They have witnessed death.
I kiss his forehead, his cheeks again and again
They are so young. One is maybe 8 years old, the other is maybe 7, and the baby, how old was the baby?
I lay him down in his crib to sleep and I linger there for a moment as I watch him rest
They cannot care for this baby; how will they care for this child? The middle boy searches for a church. Upon finding one, they gently lay the babe down on the church steps, and go to hide
He is sleeping soundly; I love the sound of his gentle breath
Someone will come rescue this babe, they hope. Someone will surely come, see the babe alone, have pity on him, take him home and raise him. The brothers are mere children, having just barely survived a most horrific death march, how can they now care for a baby and care for themselves? They leave the babe there on the steps and wait
Someone will come
I cannot finish telling this story… not now, not today.
I hold my child close, my babe. I kiss my girls. They are playing, laughing, singing…Mama, come on, dance with us!
We will dance, my loves, my doves, my beautiful ones… we will dance…
As I try to process this part of my history, we will dance