Steve Kissing



I am haunted by Kevin Carter’s 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning
Photograph of a Sudanese girl - facedown in the fetal position -
On the hard, parched ground of her famished, war-torn nation.
The size of her head suggests she’s 6, her tiny, bony body, 3.
Her bloated belly and exposed ribs look like a small dirigible.
Twenty feet behind her sits a vulture, awaiting his next meal.

After snapping the photograph, Carter scared the bird away.
He said he then sat under a tree, “talked to God” and cried.
A few years later, the weight of documenting starvation, war
And other atrocities in Africa affixed a permanent lens cap:
He took his own life - proving again that the impenetrably dark
Shadow of the vulture is cast upon those who have had too little
As well as those who have had too much.

Steve Kissing's poems and short stories have appeared (or soon will) in such print and online journals as: THICK WITH CONVICTION, BEST POEM, POETRY FRIENDS, BOSTON LITERARY MAGAZINE, BOLTS OF SILK, BULL, BREADCRUMB SCABS and PATERSON LITERARY REVIEW. Kissing’s first chapbook, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST (Big Table Publishing), was published in the fall of 2009.

(author retains copyright)