the children, by Crystal Snoddon

because they are prone           383 children    lie//stand//fall
little limbs misshaped wide, their colors,
their pores pressed between layers of digital fungus
a trap set by sticky fingers
exposed, their pixel skins breathe

383 children birthed to operation Broken Heart
……………may inhale beyond the pages, believe
lizards trickle fairy tales tears, while they bleed
from clefts of torn innocence.

sweet children:

you are not alone.………you, 383, you have been found, but

others cry compressed air into ribs//into throats clamped//voices
enslaved in virtual silence.

to the seeming endless scream on the screen:
the web vibrates with searching — your mouths
shake sternums and clavicles, blow bony cacophony
into trade winds that grasp and claw.

a child’s rain

gathers between small scapular curves,
nestles into the indents where shame
might hang elastic sputum memories of fat lips and thin lips,
hide the blisters of chapped hands who brand the thinnest skin.

find a balm, blameless children,
allow your heels to sink into cool ground,
allow your nostrils to fill with the scent of the sun.


More than 2,300 online sex offenders arrested June 2018.
The operation, named “Broken Heart,” was led by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).

Crystal Snoddon is a Canadian writer and artist nominated for Best of the Net 2017, whose forthcoming and recent publications include Figroot Press, Poet’s Reading the News, and Bending Genres, among others. Visit her website, @

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