You Were Sixteen

© 2012 by Alice Walker

 

You were sixteen

and on your way to pick up

your birthday

cake.

 

My partner offers

photographs

of your battered

head

that I cannot

view.

 

You have died under the blows.

 

Look at the soldier

he says

when he sees

my eyes

are turning away:

Sixteen too,

perhaps.

Dressed in the olive

drab

of her country’s

police; too young

to imagine

as she poses

above her kill

that she has murdered

a dream of youth

that will haunt

her

her whole life.