I Understand There’s a Boy in a Baghdad Hospital

this morning I understand that there’s
a twelve year old boy

in a hospital in Baghdad.

the word is that last night a missile
hit his flimsy house and killed

his mother, his father, his brothers,
his sisters,

and also blew
his arms off his body.

what color is his room
do you think? with the sun coming up

creeping, what is it shining on?
which bits of chrome, flesh,

fabric? colored water?
is it all right?

will things be all right?

the boy cries because his mother is dead.

and because the nurse
looks at him.

he cries and cries and asks
can you bring back my arms?

I heard this on the radio.
you understand? that question?

can you bring back my arms?

it isn’t even a question, is it?
we’d have to say well,

we knew they’d be gone.
some of them anyway.

we’ll just have to live with it
won’t we.

LARRY KEARNEY is a poet living in California.