Playground Battles

Innocence epitomized
(long blonde hair and deep curious blue eyes)
asked me the other day,
“How do wars start?”

I sighed,
“Let me think.”

Heart swelling and throat tightening,
story time commenced

Two children on a playground
one desires the other’s lunchbox
(oh what a lunch box! vintage Superman soaring high above Metropolis)
it has become the strong versus weak
(why do the bigger kids always pick on the timid, introverted ones?)
stares of fire burst enemy lines like mortar shells
words of venom hiss from their lips and linger like mustard gas
punches fly from face to stomach to face again
bruising each other on the surface and beneath
does one ever stand truly victorious (Superman lunchbox in hand)?

Is that how I should explain the evil acts of men?
Do I dare compare a scene in childhood to War?

Innocence, my child —
shrugs off her curiosity

How to prevent a resort to action (violence) as an answer?
Have words lost all power in a world where children ask,
“How do wars start?”

Photo credit: Murdoch Campbell


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