Boy, Looking Away
by Marjorie Lotfi Gill
– in response to the BBC’s Children of the Gaza War
I would like to tell him to look us in the eye, that the man shooting
frame after frame can do nothing with this angle, that what’s left
is just more of the rubble of home he’s sitting on like the king
of a demolished kingdom. Behind him, sheets of metal coil
under the objects they once sheltered: desk legs, window frames,
still half-open, and the innards of concrete, steel nets poking
from the sand, catching only wind. His knuckles rest
between mouth and nose in a classic thinker’s pose,
while the other hand is poised on his hip, fingers bent back
by an invisible bully. If only he had a treasure hidden
in that palm, some relic he could offer us now. We don’t want
to see another child at the edge of the frame, or his fist;
instead, we’re waiting for him to square his gaze and ask
again, who’s going to teach me now? or hold out the inside
of his wrists to the camera, and cry mercy, mercy.
Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33424229 for a picture of the boy.
Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b061vbdj/children-of-the-gaza-war for a newsstory about the children of Gaza.