this diary is dedicated to all who suffer because of war and other disasters

we honor courage in all its forms

cross-posted at DailyKos, Booman Tribune, European Tribune, and My Left Wing.

image and poem below the fold

Maj. Denise Irizarry, a nurse on the Critical Care Air Transport Team aboard a C17 military aircraft, talks with ABC cameraman Doug Vogt during a10-hour flight Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006, from Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Vogt was transported with ABC anchorman Robert Woodruff and 34 wounded soldiers. Woodruff and Vogt were seriously injured Sunday by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
(AP Photo/The Boston Globe, Michele McDonald )


A victim of a suicide bomb attack grimaces inside a hospital in Baghdad February 1, 2006. At least eight people were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber strapped with explosives attacked a crowd of labourers in central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said. Hospital sources said at least 65 people were wounded.
REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

Mama’s Promise
by Marilyn Nelson

I have no answer to the blank inequity
of a four-year-old dying of cancer.
I saw her on TV and wept
with my mouth full of meatloaf.

I constantly flash on disasters now;
red lights shout Warning. Danger.
everywhere I look.
I buckle him in, but what if a car
with a grille like a sharkbite
roared up out of the road?
I feed him square meals,
but what if the fist of his heart
should simply fall open?
I carried him safely
as long as I could,
but now he’s a runaway
on the dangerous highway.
Warning. Danger.
I’ve started to pray.

But the dangerous highway
curves through blue evenings
when I hold his yielding hand
and snip his minuscule nails
with my vicious-looking scissors.
I carry him around
like an egg in a spoon,
and I remember a porcelain fawn,
a best friend’s trust,
my broken faith in myself.
It’s not my grace that keeps me erect
as the sidewalk clatters downhill
under my rollerskate wheels.

Sometimes I lie awake
troubled by this thought:
It’s not so simple to give a child birth;
you also have to give it death,
the jealous fairy’s christening gift.

I’ve always pictured my own death
as a closed door,
a black room,
a breathless leap from the mountaintop
with time to throw out my arms, lift my head,
and see, in the instant my heart stops,
a whole galaxy of blue.
I imagined I’d forget,
in the cessation of feeling,
while the guilt of my lifetime floated away
like a nylon nightgown,
and that I’d fall into clean, fresh forgiveness.

Ah, but the death I’ve given away
is more mine than the one I’ve kept:
from my hands the poisoned apple,
from my bow the mistletoe dart.

Then I think of Mama,
her bountiful breasts.
When I was a child, I really swear,
Mama’s kisses could heal.
I remember her promise,
and whisper it over my sweet son’s sleep:

         When you float to the bottom, child,
         like a mote down a sunbeam,
         you’ll see me from a trillion miles away:
         my eyes looking up to you,
         my arms outstretched for you like night.

– – –
put a meaningful magnet on your car or metal filing cabinet

read Ilona’s important diary at MLW – Returning Vet PTSD – One Soldier’s Story as well her comprehensive series on PTSD and Iraq War vets.

view the pbs newshour silent honor roll (with thanks to jimstaro at booman.)

take a private moment to light one candle among many (with thanks to TXSharon)

support Veterans for Peace
support the Iraqi people
support the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)
support CARE
support the victims of torture
remember the fallen
support Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – TAPS
support Gold Star Families for Peace
support the fallen
support the troops
support Iraq Veterans Against the War
support Military families Speak Out
support the troops and the Iraqi people
read This is what John Kerry did today, the diary by lawnorder that prompted this series
read Riverbend’s Bagdhad Burning
read Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
read Today in Iraq
witness every day

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