Syria / Assad/ Bashar al-Shabiha by Tony French

A child is dead
(‘Long live the President’)
her mother too
who lived just long enough to see
the bullet pass through infant flesh
and paint a bloodied picture on the wall.

The mother barely felt the knife
that traced a pattern in her skin
(held by the ghosts of men)
her screams, her outstretched arms
were for the death of innocence.



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Food-insecure Condition (FIC) by Tony French

a mother’s arms
the thinnest of threads
give comfort to a child
her breasts
the only sustenance

death is a simple statistic

her tears will flood
the marble of mosques
and spires of cathedrals
that celebrate mankind
ignoring the needs of the hungry

listen and you will hear
– the crying of a child
lasts longer than a prayer