News Poetry: Make Shift
—on viewing a photograph by Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP
Loveland Reporter-Herald, February 24, 2018
I thought it was a sculpture in progress,
clay, a commission, this figure of a man sitting,
to commemorate someone who had died.
A worker or labor leader, I thought, strong
facial bones, work clothes wrinkled and stained.
I couldn’t read his expression. The young men
in blue gathered around the figure were finalizing
the piece for the next step.
. The fingers
of the figure’s right hand were splayed
on his knee, but one finger had a splash of red.
The eyes, I noticed, had whites. I read the caption:
“A wounded Syrian man saved from the rubble.”
Then, the medical workers’ clear gloves shone
as they attended to a wound on his back
at the makeshift hospital. Not a lost-wax
process. No casting, no foundry. I thought
it was a sculpture, I thought he was clay.
Photo credit: Bala Sivakumar, Creative Commons, Flickr
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