Sunday Night

June 15, 2011
Osama Bin laden died
the 1st of May; American citizens
lined up in front of the White House
to cheer and sing - death
has seldom been welcomed
with such open hearts, fists
in the air, hands joined with
ghosts between their fingers -

I wonder about the mothers,
fathers, sitting in front of their TVs

wondering if their sons and daughters
can hear the chanting from their pine boxes

sitting in the same silence -

for this death, no Americans
were harmed

and none have gone home,
some never will.

I tell my father, who says “There will
be another nutjob to follow in his place.”

I’m just having a hard time cheering -

death has never made me smile -

my fist knows everything but air
my fingers thinking of the
triggers and the dirt

the casualties in body bags
the casualties marred in the retinas

some things can’t be forgotten

what you were doing the day
the World Trade Center fell

but there are soldiers whose names
are worn away by the rain

Afghan civilians whose blood
will become a part of the soil and all
my kids will learn about is the numbers

I won’t be able to teach them
an Afghan mother’s tears, clutching
her dead baby, killed by an American

I won’t be able to teach them
what those picket signs meant, the thoughts
of their holders, what Hell is, why
they think American soldiers will
go there, why God should be thanked
for their deaths

I won’t be able to teach them
about how Korans could be
burned, cultures
marred by prejudice

I won’t be able to teach them
how a child their age
can grow up and have a funeral
the entire world celebrates

I could never, I don’t have the heart,
to teach them the meaning
of hate, of fists in the air
at one man’s death -

I could never teach them every name
every tear
how I cried when my friends went off to war
came home from Iraq and got sent to Afghanistan a week later -

some things don’t end
life is not one of them

but never have I seen it amount to something
so small, and death
so huge
and if I had to tell them
what hate was

I guess I could only show them this
fists in the air
singing the
Star Spangled Banner so loud
the entire world can hear
the power of our guns.

Join the Discussion

This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

SunnyWinter said...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 10:16 am
i love your poem and much of it is right but i slightly disagree. Many of my friends and I wern't cheering at having won some game or at a mans death, we were cheering because we didnt have the threat of a heartless man willing to kill thousands of people being removed from over our heads. It would also be a good idea to take into effect that though it was stupid to go into iraq but in afghanastan the taliban (gov.) knew where Osama was refused to give him up to us so we invaded because they hid... (more »)
Shadeh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I don't disagree with celebrating it - I just think the celebration was with misplaced intentions for a lot of people, and came off very tacky. All over D.C., I kept seeing these 'Osama got Obama'd' t-shirts, and overall, it seemed to be a very aggressive celebration.


We have every right to celebrate his death, or be happy about it, but the war is still a very sad thing that is continuing to happen. Plus, I don't know, it just seems like hate perpetuates hate, and being h... (more »)

lovetildeath said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm
This was very moving you did a good job.
aubrierox123 said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I really like this. It has a truth that could never be explained jusst by...saying it. ...To me poetry is about saying.."hey this is whats true"..and u did hun ..thanks :)


Shadeh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm
Thank you! That's just what I was trying to convey. This wasn't something I could explain without poetry.
Alice_C replied...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 1:00 am

This is very compeling and yet i can't agree with you. I respect what your saying but I don't find it true for me. Bin Laden killed many American troops and his own people. He had children walk up to American soldiers with bombs, because he knew it would be hard for the soldiers. It was hard for my brother to shot a kid my age because he was about to kill my brother and his group. Look, I agree that we can't over look that we took a boys father from him. But does that mean that we... (more »)

Shadeh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I don't know if you fully understood my poem.

It is a VERY good thing that Osama is dead. A VERY good thing. I have no problem with the fact that he's dead. I just don't like how people celebrated it in such a disrespectful and barbaric way. A lot of anti-Muslim sentiments increased at his death as well. I'm not saying Osama should live or anything like that. I'm saying it is sad that someone grew up in an environment that made them so horrible. However, hatred in his environment... (more »)

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