News Poetry: The Eye of the Beholder

The one on the left, with the pink backpack,
carrying the C-4, is wearing a headset
under that checked yellow scarf,
receiving final instructions.

The one on the right, with his hand to his temple,
is radioing in the coordinates.

The one in the middle, with the murderous eyes,
his hand in his pocket, has his finger on a trigger,
on a button.

And the other one, with his arm
around the other one’s neck, whispering in his ear,
urging him on. Do it, he says, do it!


Photo: Tetuan kids at school. By Scott Atran, co-founder of Artis International and author of Talking to the Enemy
Jose A. Alcantara is a former construction worker, baker, commercial fisherman, math teacher, and studio photographer. He currently works in a bookstore in Aspen, Colorado. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Poetry Daily, The Southern Review, Spillway, Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, and 99 Poems for the 99%.


  1. This poem caught in my throat. Ohh, such a tragedy to presume and stereotype young children. Thank you for the irony that makes us see.

Comments are closed.