J.R. Solonche



Over the Nahr a Bared refugee camp in Tripoli,
rises a column of black smoke.
It looks like a palm tree,
A palm tree with a black trunk and black palm leaves and black palm fruit.
It is graceful, and it looks like a black palm tree swaying in the wind.
Beneath its roots is a house.
Beneath the house is a child.
The house was destroyed by a shell from a tank.
The child was destroyed by her house.
The column of black smoke is her memorial.
The tank planted this graceful black palm tree as her memorial.
The length of the child’s life was two years long.
The length of the memorial’s life was twenty seconds long.
That was her memorial: ten seconds for each year of the child’s life.

J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books). His work has appeared in many magazines, journals and anthologies. He teaches at Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York.


(author retains copyright)